It's easy to understand if you might skip over the idea of considering how to match rums to your flavors or food pairings. But in such a global era where nearly any ingredient can be on a table in a few days, you can explore both sweet and savory snacks in one hand that'll come to life with your glass of rum in the other.
Picking Out a Rum
Different styles of rum will match better with some snacks better than others. It's essential to know the rum's flavor profile before you start sipping and snacking. Once you've settled on a style of rum, ranging from light to dark to spiced, you can opt to enjoy your rum on its own or with a few ice cubes. If you prefer a mixer or two with your rum, you can easily mix up a rum cocktail or craft a flight with several miniature cocktails.
Sometimes known as light rum, silver rums are one of the most popular styles of rum. These rums are subtly sweet and most often take on the flavor of the ingredients in the cocktail, such as a daiquiri or mojito.
- Pair your silver rum with a fruit snack. Keep the flavors light with sliced apples, bananas, oranges, mangoes, or pineapple. Combine the flavors by spearing several together or toss them into a fruit salad with a splash of citrus such as lemon or lime.
- Don't underestimate rum's ability to shine in something other than a mojito. Craft up a mint pesto to spread on cheese and crackers, especially feta. Roll sweet and savory together with prosciutto wrapped melon with mint and a sip of rum.
- Silver rum goes well with sweet treats. A vanilla cookie (or three!) or slice of lemon cake wouldn't go amiss with a splash of rum on the side.
This style of aged rum can hold its own against both sweet flavors and bold, savory flavors. It is sweeter than a silver rum and more flavorful too. You can easily enjoy this on its own or mixed into a daiquiri, or with a splash of club soda.
- Steak horseradish crostinis are an excellent partner for a gold rum. Those savory bite-size steaks are a great contrast to the sweeter notes in the rum.
- Gold rum and grilled fruit make for an unexpected pair. The smokey sweetness of the fruit complements the sweetness of the rum and its gentle bite. Grilled pineapple and peaches are a great place to start.
- Whip up crunchy coconut shrimp bites. The coconut flavors are a perfect match to the rum. Alternatively, you can craft coconut chicken tenders or nuggets as well!
The beauty of spiced rum is that it is absolutely loaded with flavors. As its name implies, you'll find cinnamon, vanilla, caramel, nutmeg, or even ginger. You can enjoy your snack with rum on its own or mixed into a cocktail such as a rum punch or with some pineapple juice. You can even craft a spiced rum old-fashioned with a simple swap.
- Think brunch flavors when you think spiced rum. Build chicken and waffle sliders with a drizzle of maple syrup or skip the waffle and coat your chicken tenders or nuggets in corn flakes and dip those in maple syrup.
- Make your snacks more formal with a blueberry and goat cheese pastry or croissant bite. The fruit and pastry flavors are a great pairing with the spiced flavors in the rum.
- Trail mix with its sweet and salty flavors make for a great snack beside your spiced rum. But if you really want to turn the volume up, then make chocolate-covered nuts. You can tweak the recipe as you see fit, using almonds, macadamia nuts, peanuts, milk chocolate, dark chocolate, or with a dash or two of ground cinnamon and nutmeg.
Dark Rum and Black Rum
While these rums aren't interchangeable, they share several features and flavor pairings. Dark rum is aged much longer than its counterpart gold rum, which is only aged up to two years, whereas dark rum is three to five years. This creates a fuller, more complex flavor during that time. Black rums are aged around three years but get their deeper color thanks to the addition of molasses. Dark rum has a sweetness while being a bit dryer and sharper than other rums. Black rum will have a rich and smoky flavor with that signature rum sweetness and the addition of molasses. Enjoy either of these rums on their own, with some ginger beer, or whip up a dark rum cocktail such as a black daiquiri.
- Dark rum will have subtle spiced notes, so capture that feeling with candied ginger or candied pineapple snack. Likewise, dried mango or apricots make for a great combination too.
- Sweet and savory really hit the spot when you're looking for a snack. Stack fresh pineapple slices with a piece of bacon to go with your dark rum or black rum.
- Vanilla flavoring goes swimmingly with dark and black rum flavors. Incorporate a vanilla snack cake or whip up vanilla notes with a crispy rice treat.
- Tater tots with a dash or two of truffle oil make an excellent partner with dark and black rums. The spiced and smokey notes of the rums mellow out the rich flavors.
- If you have a sweet tooth and want dessert and an after-dinner drink, a scoop or two of vanilla ice cream wouldn't go amiss. If you're going to get extra cheeky, consider grabbing a pint of rum raisin, too.
- Cheddar makes an excellent fit for rum, so toss a few slices on a plate with some crackers. A second cheese to consider is gouda, as it's a crunchy, salty cheese with nutty and sweet flavors.
Crafting a Menu of Rum and Snacks
One of the easiest ways to brainstorm snack flavors and pairings with rum is to consider rum cocktails. As you mull over whether a flavor would work with rum, start by running through the ingredients in a rum cocktail. Chances are, if rum blends well with that mixer, such as pineapple juice or hot chocolate, its solid or food form will pair quite nicely. Be aware that some like-pairings can be overly cloying, however. While a sweet dessert with a sweeter rum can be tempting, if you make either too sweet, then all that sugar will destroy the experience, so tread lightly when pairing like with like. Don't be afraid of contrasting flavors. Pair your softer, sweeter gold rum with a slice of salty cheese and cracker or salted caramel chocolate. The beauty of flavor pairings is finding unexpectedly delicious flavors in combination.
Enjoying an Adult Snack Time With Rum
If you aren't standing in front of your cupboards, phone in hand, while browsing your ingredients, get going! With a salty or sweet snack on the horizon and a bottle of rum waiting for its chance to share the table, there's no time to waste.