What to eat with dark rum – 5 types of food combinations with Rum

What to eat with dark rum - 5 types of food combinations with Rum and more

Cardinal rule number one: never imbibe on an empty stomach. New rule number two thousand twenty-two: food combinations with rum elevate your cocktail and dinner parties, your poker & other game nights, your stay-at-home movie gatherings and more. Not too long ago, the food pairing world managed to evolve past its former narrow mindset with more folks enjoying solo spirits as well as cocktails with not just bar snacks but also with the varying tiers of meal service. Rum accompaniments with a whole sway of food options are your ticket to satisfying palates of all degrees. Aged or dark rum mellows the texture of a spirit making it more compatible with to sip alongside food. Its natural spice character practically calls for a like minded partner. Its honeyed-molasses smoothness compliments both sweet/sour and savory fare. All that said, so what do you drink dark rum with?

5 Types of food combinations with Rum

Food combinations with rum take many ideas into consideration including whether the rum will work better mixed into a cocktail or whether the food has enough body or texture to stand up to the strength of rum and its character.

To get you started with what to eat with rum, let’s consider some very key attributes to pairing with certain spirits. The higher alcohol of spirits can sometimes require a fuller bodied type of vittle like cheese, chocolate or even a charred medium rare steak to keep the peace of palate balance. Rum’s perceived sweet character, derived from its natural glycerin, has an inherent tendency to pair well with fresh or stewed fruits, but also with salty savory fare like bar snacks, nuts, pretzels, etc. Finally, nearly everyone has a favorite dreamy dessert pairing wherein the decadent confection is soaked in spirit during its inspired preparation and/or presentation. So let’s begin there, pairing within the parameters of these five types of food combinations with rum: snacks, cheese, fruit, dessert & chocolate.

What snacks to eat with rum

The best snacks to eat with rum usually have a nice toasty crunch to them or entertain a combination of elements like dried fruits, nuts, chocolate or cheese. Rum really loves the combination of sweet and savory with a hint of spice. Here are a few elevated snack ideas that go well with a pour of aged rum neat, over ice or with a splash of soda, cola or mixed into a Classic Daiquiri. Try these snacks with rum, like the Dos Maderas 5+3 or 5+5 and let us know what you think!

  • Nutty Caramel Corn à la Za’atar
  • Savory Spiced Rum Pretzels
  • Tropical Sweet Trail Mix

Nutty Caramel Corn à la Za’atar Recipe

The easy version is to buy pre-made caramel corn, add roasted peanuts, and a dusting of store bought za’atar spice and stir or shake it all up. However, the best version involves making your own caramel corn as well as mixing your own za’atar spice blend and then baking everything together on a sheet pan. Set aside an hour and fifteen minutes and then begin.

STEP 1: Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.

STEP 2: Prepare 7 quarts of popcorn and spread out on two greased baking sheets. Add 2 cups of roasted peanuts and mix.

STEP 3: Prepare your Za’atar spice blend

Za’atar spice hails from countries all over the Middle East and typically consists of the following:

  • Toasted sesame seeds to add a nutty richness
  • Dried Mediterranean herbs such as thyme, hyssop, oregano or marjoram to add a woodsy floral vibe
  • Sumac which contributes a tangy acidic tone
  • Ground coriander and cumin can also be added to contribute more floral, citrusy, nutty and earthy notes

Try mixing about one tablespoon of each together.

STEP 3: Prepare your caramel. There are several caramel corn recipes out there to make at home, but I really love “My Amish Friend’s Caramel Corn” and the key is to add your Za’atar spice to the pot right after making the caramel.

Add to your stove pot and bring to a boil for 5 minutes, stirring all the while:

  • 2 cups brown sugar
  • ½ cup light corn syrup
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup margarine

Remove from heat and then stir in:

  • ½ teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2-3 tablespoons of Za’atar spice

STEP 4: Pour caramel over your popcorn and bake for an hour, but remove them every 15 minutes and stir.

STEP 5: Remove entirely from the oven and dump on wax paper sheets. Let cool and break everything apart.

Savory Spiced Rum Pretzels Recipe

Whether you’re watching your favorite championship on tv, entertaining for poker night or bringing snacks to your D&D party, this recipe is perfect and also takes about an hour and fifteen minutes to prepare. Adapted from this fabulous Spiced Rum Pretzels recipe, start by picking up a big bag of mini pretzels.

STEP 1: Preheat your oven to 250 degrees.

STEP 2: Add to a saucepan on low heat:

  • 1 stick unsalted butter
  • ¼ cup Dos Maderas 5+3 Rum
  • 2 Tbsp brown sugar
  • 1 tsp. cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp. granulated garlic
  • ½ tsp. ground cinnamon
  • ½ tsp. ground nutmeg
  • ½ tsp. ground cloves

STEP 3: Stir then whisk everything until uniform

STEP 4: Pour butter mixture over pretzels in a large bowl and mix

STEP 5: Spread coated pretzels on a grease lined baking pan and bake for an hour, removing and stirring at 15 minute intervals.

STEP 6: Remove from heat and cool.

Tropical Sweet Trail Mix Recipe

This recipe, borrowed and tweaked from here, is great to make in large batches so you can grab a bowl at any time and have an easy snack pairing ready to serve in seconds. It’ll keep as long as you store it in dry sealed containers like tupperware or sandwich bags.

STEP 1: Preheat oven to 350 degrees

STEP 2: Spread 1 cup of coconut shavings over a baking sheet and bake until just turning brown at the edges, roughly 5-7 minutes. Let cool.

STEP 3: Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl:

  • 1 cup roasted almonds
  • 1 cup cashews, raw, roasted and salted
  • 1 cup raw walnut pieces
  • ½ cup dried cherries
  • ½ cup raisins
  • 1 ¼ cup dried banana chips
  • 1 cup dried pineapple chunks
  • 1 cup toasted Coconut
  • ¾ cup dark chocolate chips or chunks

What cheese to eat with rum

cheese with dark rum

When it comes to pairing with food, cheese is its own royal kingdom. It seems everything under the sun of grapes, grain, sugarcane and other fermented and/or distilled agriculture just loves to be devoured with cheese. As a snack or digestif, cheese fills its kingly role of providing delicious creamy and savory answers to the call of our hunger cravings at really any time of the day. So what cheese goes with rum?

The best cheese pairing with rum is really a muti-faceted challenge. Typically, cheese without any accoutrements is not ideal to pair with a neat pour of rum. Pulling from our snack pairing ideas, rum and cheese pairing is all about layers and that mildly addictive toasty crunch aspect. Upon that, let’s consider what to drink with cheese board options. The best types of cheese with rum should be accented with a hint of sweetness, like the condiments that often accompany boards including preserves, fruits and honey. Experiment with havarti, gouda, camembert, brie, goat cheese and blue options with varying elements like fruit and nut crisps, crostinis, dried fruit, preserves, honey, balsamic, etc. Here are a few combinations to try:

  1. On a buttered crostini, add a spread of soft creamy brie, a slice of apple and drizzle just a touch of raw honey over top. Take a bite and sip some Dos Maderas 5+3.

  1. Slit open a raw date and stuff with a creamy goat cheese and a dollop of berry jam. Taste it with a splash of Dos Maderas 5+5.

  1. Grab a dried fruit & nut crisp and combine with a dried apricot or preserve to a square of blue cheese. Drizzle just a touch of balsamic and try the entire bite with a pour of Dos Maderas 5+5.

If you are not a fan of neat rum pours, try tasting your cheese pairings with a sherry and rum cocktail like the Desconstruido.

What fruit to eat with rum

Enjoying rum and fruit together is as natural as craving lemonade on a sunny porch in the summer. The affinity that rum shares for fruit is evident throughout most rum cocktails in the islands, the states and all over the world. The key is deciding on what fruit goes with rum on any particular day depending where you are, what the season brings and where your cravings guide you.

Pairing fresh fruit with rum is something mixologist-bartenders do all the time, whether it’s citrus, berries, tree fruit, stone fruit or tropical fruit, rum finds a way to taste delicious in the final combination. Determining the best fruit with rum is certainly a matter of time, place and personal taste. Sometimes adding one or more items is the ticket. Mixed fruit with rum has been the number one seller at TGI Friday’s and Applebee’s and other chain restaurants with frosty blenders for decades. We’ve been trained since childhood before even tasting rum to think strawberry-banana daiquiris & piña coladas are delicious. Even outside of the blender-verse, fruit juice with rum is as old as the colonies and earlier with recipes like the Stone Fence combining 5 oz. fresh pressed apple cider, 2 oz. rum and a dash of Angostura bitters in simple perfection.

Conclusion? The world offers us seemingly infinite possibilities when it comes to enjoying rum with fruit. Here are a few easy suggestions to get you experimenting that you may not have tried before:

  1. Grill a ring of fresh ripe pineapple and add a pinch of salt. Serve it with a side of neat Dos Maderas 5+3.

  1. Microwave a ripe peeled banana with 2 tablespoons of water drizzled on top for 1 minute. The natural fruit sugars will mix with the water into a simple sauce. Sprinkle a bit of grated nutmeg on top. Enjoy a spoonful of the warm banana with a side of neat Dos Maderas 5+5.

  1. Grab your favorite mixed berry & melon fruit cup and a serving of Greek yogurt. Blend together with ¾ cup of honey, 1 cup of crushed ice and 2 oz. of Dos Maderas 5+3. Serve with a straw. Optional: add a few leaves of mint to the blender.

What desserts to eat with rum - 3 rum pairing ideas and more for dessert

When determining the best desserts that go well with rum, it’s easy to call to mind classic rum soaked cakes like Tres Leches cake, Baba au Rhum, Savarins, Romanian Rum cakes and Polish & Ukrainian Babkas. These are all excellent variations on a perfect dream theme: desserts made with rum. In these cases, the best rum for desserts is always a dark aged rum, like the Dos Maderas 5+5 or Selección and for those desserts that get lit on fire, including the deceptively complex yet truly simple New Orleans Bananas Foster, a higher proof dark rum is ideal.

1. Pineapple Upside-Down Cake

It’s hard to choose the best fruity dessert with rum but outside of Bananas Foster, the Pineapple Upside-Down Cake has its devotees, for sure. Classic pies and fruit tarts ranging from strawberry-rhubarb, apple streusel, caramel pear, to sweet potato and pumpkin and all the way to nutty Pecan pie and Mississippi Mud will no doubt entertain a pour of rum as a friendly assist for digestion and enjoyment. Rum pastries that involve dried fruits soaking in rum before being folded into confectionary dough are easy brunch option favorites for folks looking to enjoy a pairing during the weekend daylight hours. Speaking of brunch, how does a slice of Pecan Sour Cream Coffee cake with an El Carajillo sound to enjoy the newspaper and your Sunday late afternoon?

2. El Carajillo

A non-fussy combination of spirit and Espresso that will bring you your caffeine and punch its way through near any decadent dessert pairing of your choosing. Pour your fresh shot of espresso over a large ice cube and then pour your rum atop. Optional garnish: lemon peel, piece of chocolate or a singed star anise.

  • 1.5 oz. Dos Maderas 5+5 Rum
  • 2 oz. Hot Espresso

Apart from rum soaked cakes with dark caramel rum sauces, pies and pastries, another category of desserts to pair with rum include any and all gelato or ice cream. All flavors win here like vanilla, matcha, strawberry, chocolate, coconut, salted-caramel, butter pecan, maple walnut, and we certainly cannot forsake the Rum Raisin which also incorporates dried fruits to soak up the rum.

Dessert drinks with rum are some of our favorite guilty pleasures to be born out of the vintage soda pop diner world with classics like boozy Root Beer Floats & Egg Creams or any number of spiked malt options like vanilla, strawberry and chocolate. That being said, it’s impossible not to acknowledge that the Piña Colada is king of all the land and sea of dessert rum drinks.

3. Piña Colada

Dessert with dark rum piña colada

Below is an easy shaken recipe you can try at home. To learn a bit more about the backstory of this famous cocktail, and find a recipe for your blender, check out the details on the Dos Maderas website cocktail page here.

  • 1 1/2 ounces rum – Dos Maderas 5+3 Rum
  • 1 oz. Cream of Coconut
  • 1 oz Coconut Milk
  • 1.75 oz. fresh pressed pineapple juice

What chocolate to eat with rum - Pairing rum with Chocolate

All sorts of chocolate desserts exist because it turns out humanity truly understands joy, excess and forbidden paradise on earth. Chocolate by itself is like a cocktail combining bitter earthy cacao, creamy milk and sugar to balance it all out with sweetness. Adding rum to that scenario seems like a fine idea wouldn’t you say?

When discussing chocolate in all its forms including inspired cookie, cake, tart and pie iterations, aged rum pairings with milk, coffee and or other tea options will never let you down. But also, sipping rum neat is a more than fine idea when eating chocolate as is. As a general rule of thumb, higher cacao percentages in chocolate appreciate more maturity in aged rum. So what is the best chocolate for drinking rum?

1. Gianduja

I’m inclined to vote gianduja which is an italian-style chocolate that incorporates a minimum of 30% hazelnut paste into its being. The savory character of nuts offers chocolate a sweet & salty connection to pair with. Gianduja is lighter than traditional dark chocolate but darker than milk chocolate and its hazelnut addition is every nut lover’s dream sidekick. If you love spreading Nutella on toast, enjoying a piece of gianduja is your next rung up on the ladder.

2. Almond nut barks

Almond nut barks that run 60% and higher cocoa are also a delectable chocolate snack with rum and may run a close 2nd place. Try a neat pour of 5+5, Selección or Luxus with either nut accented chocolate to decide what chocolate you prefer best with what rum. You’ll get a nice range of sweetness and secondary character to consider the best chocolate rum affinity for your palate.

3. Boozy hot cocoa with rum

Beverage-wise, rum and chocolate milk in iterations evoking the Rum Cow or in Hot Cocoa recipes are your ticket to straight up adulting. For nostalgia’s sake, you can never go back to your childhood, but why would you when you can have a boozy hot cocoa with rum? Consider also co-basing your spirit with a darker amaro like Averna or even Fernet. Or if you are feeling particularly motivated, try whipping up an ounce of amaro in your heavy cream to use as a float.

Other great food pairings with rum

As mentioned at the start, rum can also accent dishes served as more than just a snack or a dessert. As of late, I’ve seen aged rum pairings with charred steaks ranging from classic beef to sesame crusted tuna versions gaining unconventional but fascinating traction. Try a medium rare steak with char and russet fried potatoes with a pour of Dos Maderas 5+5 and experience the moment in all its glory. Ceviche, which are citrus cured raw fish dishes, and lighter rums like the Dos Maderas 5+3 on ice are a perfect match. Rum, after all, does love citrus. Rum glazed chicken wings? It turns out that sipping the rum you glaze your wings with is just as enjoyable as you would imagine it to be. Happy eating & drinking!

Author:  Chantal Tseng, DC Bar-Somm

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