8 Best Dark Rum substitutes: Life on the dark side

What are the best Dark Rum substitutes?

Are you looking for a substitute for Dark Rum? What is the best Dark Rum substitute on the market today? Rum is an alcoholic beverage which you can enjoy as a sipping spirit, mixed in cocktails, or when used in cooking and baking. But what happens whenever you run out of it? Is there a suitable substitute for Rum? Well, we suggest you try using whiskey, brandy, cognac & tequila. Or you can also use rum extract and non-alcohol alternatives.

If, like me, you like to take a break from drinking alcohol sometimes then don’t worry, we have included some alcohol-free alternatives for you to try.

What is Dark Rum?

Rum is a distilled alcoholic beverage made from sugarcane byproducts, such as molasses or sugarcane juice. It is commonly associated with the Caribbean. The exact origins of rum are unclear, but it is believed to have been first produced in the Caribbean islands, where sugarcane was abundant and the process of distillation was introduced by European colonizers.

Today, rum is produced in many countries around the world. However, the Caribbean remains the most famous and influential region for rum production.

Okay, before we look at your Rum substitute options, let’s deal with that empty cupboard situation!

Where can I buy Rum?

If you want to be more prepared and ensure you don’t run out of Rum again then you should stock up now.

Nowadays most supermarkets and liquor stores stock a wide variety of alcohol – including a wide variety of Rum. Or if you prefer you can also purchase Rum on-line.

Due to geographical restrictions on the sale of alcohol we have included a Zero Proof Alternative for you to try.

So why not jump on and place your order today.


Ritual Zero Proof Rum

A taste of warm vanilla, toasted spice and the enjoyable flavor of dark rum.

Zero proof – NO alcohol

What are suitable substitutes for Dark Rum?

Here are some of the best ways to substitute the flavor and role that Rum provides in your recipes. We have thrown in a mix of alcoholic and non-alcoholic alternatives for you.

Use any of the following as a substitute:

Alcoholic substitutes
  • Whiskey
  • Brandy
  • Cognac
  • Tequila
Non-Alcoholic substitutes
  • Rum Extract
  • Non-alcohol alternatives
  • Apple Juice
  • Orange Juice

Rum substitutes

Whiskey as a substitute for Dark Rum

Whiskey is a distilled spirit with a distinct flavor profile. So when you want to choose it as a substitute for rum you need to think carefully about which brand to choose. Whiskey is typically made from grains, such as corn, barley, and rye. It is generally aged in charred oak barrels, which gives it a smoky, woody flavor. Rum, on the other hand, is made from sugarcane byproducts and has a sweet, fruity flavor.

That being said, there are some cocktails or recipes where whiskey can be used as a substitute for rum. For example, a whiskey sour can be made with rum instead of whiskey. However, this will result in a slightly sweeter and fruitier version of the classic cocktail.

When it comes to cooking and baking, whiskey and rum are often used interchangeably in recipes that call for a splash of alcohol, such as in sauces or glazes. However, keep in mind that the flavor profile of the dish may be slightly different if using one over the other.

Whiskey as a substitute for dark rum.

Brandy as a substitute for Dark Rum

Brandy has a distinct flavor profile depending on which brand you buy. Typically brandy is made from distilled wine and aged in oak barrels. This gives it a rich, complex flavor with notes of fruit, oak, and spice.

There are some cocktails or recipes where brandy can be used as a substitute for rum. For example, a hot buttered rum can be made with brandy instead of rum. This will result in a warmer, spicier version of the classic winter drink.

When it comes to cooking and baking, brandy and rum can often be used interchangeably in recipes that call for a splash of alcohol, such as in fruitcakes or marinades.

Brandy and brandy glass


Cognac is a type of brandy that is distilled from wine and is best suited as a substitute in recipes that call for a dark or aged rum. For example, if a recipe calls for a dark rum to be used in a marinade or sauce, cognac can be used instead. This will add a similar depth of flavor. However, it’s important to keep in mind that cognac is generally more expensive than rum, so it may not always be the most cost-effective substitute.

In cocktails, cognac can be used as a substitute for rum in some cases, but it will change the flavor profile of the drink.

Cognac can be used in either sweet or savory dishes. It works well by adding a rich depth of flavor to sauces and compliments most meats.

It’s always a good idea to experiment and try different substitutions to see what works best for you.

Cognac as a substitute for dark rum.


Tequila is a spirit with very distinct flavors, and there are a also few variations to choose from.

The clear, unaged version of tequila (known as blanco or silver) has a similar level of alcohol content as white rum. This means it can provide a similar neutral base for cocktails.

In some cocktails, tequila can even enhance the flavor profile over rum. For example, a Margarita is traditionally made with tequila and is a perfect example of how the agave notes in tequila can complement the citrus and sweetness of a cocktail.

However, substituting tequila for rum may not work in all cases, especially in recipes that call for aged rum. Aged rum has a distinct flavor that comes from the oak barrels it’s aged in.

It’s always a good idea to experiment with different spirits to see what works best for you.

Tequila as a substitute for dark rum.

Rum Extract

Rum extract is a concentrated flavoring made by combining rum with water and alcohol. It’s commonly used in baking and cooking to add a subtle rum flavor to desserts, sauces, and other dishes. It can also be used in drinks to add a rum flavor without adding actual alcohol.

When using rum extract in cooking, it’s important to keep in mind that it’s very concentrated and can be overpowering if too much is used. In general, one teaspoon of rum extract can be substituted for two tablespoons of actual rum. It’s best to add the extract gradually and taste as you go to ensure that you get the desired level of rum flavor.

Rum extract can be used in a variety of recipes, including cakes, cookies, brownies, and sauces. It’s particularly popular in recipes for rum balls, where it’s mixed with other ingredients like cocoa powder and crushed cookies to create a sweet and boozy treat.

In drinks, rum extract can be used to add a rum flavor to non-alcoholic drinks like smoothies or milkshakes. It can also be used in cocktails to add a rum flavor without adding actual rum. However, it’s important to note that the flavor of rum extract may not be as complex as actual rum, so the final product may not taste exactly like a traditional rum cocktail.

Just be sure to use it sparingly to avoid overpowering your recipe.

Rum extract as a substitute dark rum.

Non-alcohol alternatives for Rum substitutes

Non-alcoholic rum is a type of drink that mimics the taste and aroma of real rum without containing any alcohol. It’s a great alternative for people who don’t drink alcohol but still want to enjoy the flavor of rum in their drinks and cocktails.

Non-alcoholic rum is made using a combination of natural flavors, spices, and extracts, which are blended together to create a drink that closely resembles the taste and aroma of real rum. Some brands of non-alcoholic rum also contain sweeteners like sugar or artificial sweeteners to mimic the sweetness of real rum.

Non-alcoholic rum can be used in a variety of drinks and cocktails, including mojitos, piña coladas, and daiquiris, among others. It can be mixed with fruit juices, syrups, and other ingredients to create a wide range of delicious and refreshing drinks.

Overall, non-alcoholic rum is a great alternative for people who want to enjoy the flavor of rum without consuming any alcohol. There are many brands available on the market, so it’s worth trying a few to find the one that best suits your tastes and preferences.

Non-alcohol substitutes


What is the best rum to use in baking?

When it comes to baking with rum, you’ll want to choose a rum that complements the flavors of your baked goods without overpowering them. Dark rum is a popular choice for baking due to its rich, caramel-like flavor profile. Brands like Captain Morgan, Goslings, or Myers’s are commonly used and widely available. However, if you prefer a lighter flavor, you can opt for a light or golden rum instead. Bacardi is also a well-known brand for this category. Ultimately, the best rum for your baking depends on personal preference and the specific recipe you’re making. Always remember to use alcohol responsibly and consider any dietary restrictions or preferences of your intended audience.

Is dark rum same as spice rum?

Dark rum and spiced rum are similar in that they both fall under the broader category of rum. However, dark rum typically has a deeper color and a richer, more robust flavor profile. The flavor of dark rum often features notes of caramel, molasses, and sometimes even a hint of spice. Spiced rum, on the other hand, is infused with additional spices and flavorings, such as cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, or vanilla. While both types of rum can be used in baking, the choice between dark rum and spiced rum will depend on the flavor you want to impart to your baked goods. If you’re looking for a more intense, caramel-like flavor, opt for dark rum. If you want to add a bit of warmth and complexity with additional spices, spiced rum might be the way to go.

What quaifies as dark rum?

Dark rum is a category of rum characterized by its rich, deep color and robust flavor profile. It’s typically aged longer in barrels, which gives it the darker color and more complex flavors compared to lighter rums. Dark rum often exhibits notes of caramel, molasses, toffee, and sometimes even hints of spices like cinnamon or nutmeg. The aging process allows the rum to develop a smoother and more mellow taste. This makes it a popular choice for sipping neat or in cocktails. While there isn’t a strict definition for what qualifies as dark rum, it generally refers to rums that have been aged for an extended period. This results in a darker appearance and a more intense flavor profile compared to other types of rum such as white or gold rum. Some well-known examples of dark rum include brands like Captain Morgan, Goslings Black Seal, Myers’s, and Kraken.

Summary for the best Rum substitutes

Okay – that’s you all sorted with a suitable substitute for Rum.

There are many alternatives to using Rum and most can be easily incorporated into a variety of recipes. From adding depth of flavor to drinks, baking, or sauces you can add as much or as little as you need. So just remember when you do run out of Rum there are alternatives.

So if you are looking for the best Rum substitutes then the products listed above will all provide you with an alternative. Which one will you choose?

And remember if you’re looking to replace Rum in a recipe, you’ll need to consider what role the Rum was playing in the recipe and choose a suitable replacement that provides similar benefits.

We have gathered together a lot more facts on ingredients such as herbs, spices, oils, nuts, etc. if you would like to learn some more.