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What to cook with rum?

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Other than making mojitos and other cocktails, rum is a spirit commonly used to cook with, especially aged and dark rum for strong flavors in dishes such as beef and pork stews. In contrast, white or light rums are mostly used to cook seafood or poultry.

When cooking, the alcohol in rum will burn off and leave behind a deep flavor in the dish. After the alcohol is evaporated, the remaining aroma and essence are left to be absorb into the broth, sauce or dish.

What to cook with rum? Rum can be used in various cooking techniques from sauté to deglaze and creating a base of flavor in sauces and soups. 

Aged rum helps to marinate pork or chicken, and adding additional spices and herbs makes rum infuse into the dish more flavorful. 

With rum, savory Caribbean food with tropical fruits and glazes can be made, banana foster, tiramisu, and baking with dark and spiced rum is ideal. 

A better way to spice up a meal by serving rum in place of your regular cocktail routine. Rum has a rich history in Caribbean and South American foods, and it tastes like sunshine and summertime when used in a plate!

But, it can sometimes be tough to understand precisely how rum to use when cooking. Should it be mixed into a marinade or added to a soup? Or is it better used as an ingredient in desserts? Well, here are some ways rum can make your meals more interesting.

Can I use rum for cooking?

Yes, rum can be used for cooking. It’s best to use a dark rum that has been aged in charred oak barrels for at least three years so that it imparts enough of the desirable flavors. 

The alcohol burns off during cooking and leaves behind the molasses and caramel notes of the dark rum. It also gives the food an amber color. 

However, depending on the type and age length, the depth of flavor in rum may vary. Light rums are interchangeable with this type of dark rum in recipes, although they tend to not be as flavorful.

What does rum do in cooking?

The natural sweetness and caramel-like flavors of rum make it a great addition to sauces, both sweet and savory. It’s also used for glazing meats, poultry, or seafood, making marinades, or thickening gravy. 

Rum adds sweetness, enhances the flavors, and adds a touch of sophistication to any home-cooked meal. While rum can be added as an ingredient in many recipes, the best way to use rum in cooking is by integrating it as part of the cooking process.

It also works well in desserts such as cakes and pies. This popular Caribbean liquor will add a distinctive flavor that gives cooking an extra dash of spice.

Best rum to cook with

Typically, aged and dark rum are the best options to cook dishes that have strong flavored meat. For chicken or vegetables that is sautéed or stewed, the selection of rum is an important factor to consider.

The best rums to cook with are:

  • Dark rums: Aged in oak barrels and are perfect for flavor-packed dishes. Gold rums are mellower, but still bring an excellent depth of flavor to food.
  • Spiced rum: Packed with cloves, cinnamon, and even vanilla, these rum types should be used in desserts, especially if it calls for vanilla extract. It also works well in Asian dishes and curries.
  • Overproof rums: Distilled at a higher proof than most rum variants, usually 50% to 75% ABV or more! These work great for flambéing or adding an extra kick to desserts.
  • Flavored rums offer a vast range of possibilities for cooking: Coconut, mango or pineapple are the typical flavors, but there’s always a way to complement a meal with a fruity flair.

What flavor cooks well with rum?

As a rule of thumb, white rum goes best with light flavors like coconut, citrus fruits, and vanilla. Dark rum has a more robust molasses or caramel flavor that blends well with chocolate, coffee, and butterscotch. 

Regardless of the color, rum will add sweetness to any dish. Rum is commonly used in desserts like cakes and cookies, but it is also used in savory dishes.

Here are classic flavor combinations that chefs like to cook with rum:

  • rum + chicken + teriyaki sauce + pineapple
  • rum + coconut milk + brown sugar + lime juice + shrimp
  • rum + pork + brown sugar + cinnamon
  • rum + brioche bread + butter + cinnamon + brown sugar
What to cook with rum

Cooking with Rum: Conclusion

Rum is an excellent addition to many dishes, whether sweet or savory. Its versatility makes it the perfect spirit for infusing all types of delicious flavors. 

Rum can be used in the kitchen by adding it straight into a dish, sauce or glaze. It is best to use high quality rum when cooking for more intense and complex the flavors that will elevate a dish from average to exceptional!

From glazing to sauce, marinating, sauté, stew and soup, there are many cooking techniques to be used with rum. 

While using rum, the alcohol will evaporate and leave behind a deep, rich, sweet and smoky flavor to the dish. Sprinkle herbs and spices to make the dish more delightful.

Aged and dark rum is perfect for cooking savory Caribbean cuisine or sweet desserts. Use this guide full of flavor combinations and ingredients to try cook your favorite recipes with rum next time your experimenting in the kitchen.

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