Rum has a special place in India’s liquor culture. It is considered a drink for wet monsoons and cold winters.
While Indian Rums have 42.8% Alcohol by Volume (ABV), drinkers believe this liquor does not cause hangovers. Many love rum for its sweet, caramel-like fragrance and rich, dark chocolate like tone.
Perhaps you would know, rum is distilled from molasses- a byproduct of the sugar industry.
India has a vast sugar industry. Hence, Indian distillers have an ample supply of high-quality molasses to make rum. This makes Indian rum very popular in foreign countries.
Indeed, Indian rum ranks among top five liquors of the category and rank just behind their counterparts distilled in the Caribbean.
Here we present a list of top 10 best rum brands in India.
But before we dive deep into it let's have a look at some of the surprising facts about Rum in India.
Surprising Facts About Rum in India
Till some years ago, Rum was not a preferred alcoholic drink among the majority of Indians. This was due to the intense release of heat in the body that rum triggers when consumed dry or with a mixer.
Consequently, it had a seasonal demand, during wet monsoons and cold winters.
During the last few years, rum market in India was depleting at a rate of 1% per annum, till 2016. However, since 2016, rum brands in India are recording brisk sales.
One reason for this increase is the introduction of premium and foreign brands into the market. According to market experts, the rum market of India is expected to show 9% per annum growth till 2022.
List of Top 10 Best Rum Brands in India
1. Old Monk, The Legend (Mohan Meakin Ltd)
Old Monk is the leading rum brand in India. The brand has been dominating the Indian rum market for decades. It was launched in Uttar Pradesh and eventually found markets across the country.
Old Monk rum is renowned for its distinct sweetish taste and strong caramel-like flavour.
The regular variety of Old Monk is blended with rum that has matured in oak casks for seven years. Additionally, you can buy Old Monk Supreme, which comes in a unique bottle that reflects its logo of a monk.
Old Monk Price- Rs.550/ 750ml
2. Amrut Old Port Deluxe (Amrut Distilleries Ltd)
Amrut Old Port is the fastest growing brand of rum in India offered by Amrut Distilleries Ltd which is one of the leading liquor companies in India.
This brand also has a wide following in foreign markets. Amrut Old Port Deluxe Rum is matured in oak barrels formerly used for blending whiskies. Hence, it has a distinct old oak aroma which offers good quality rum.
Various foreign liquor reviewers have praised Amrut Old Port for its exceptional qualities.
The oak cask maturation gives it a copper-like hue while imparting flavours of nuts including pistachio and peanuts. It is an excellent rum if you love to drink neat: adding mixers tends to diminish its unique tastes.
Amrut Old Port Price- Rs.700/750ml
3. Captain Morgan (Pernod Ricard India)
Captain Morgan is internationally acclaimed best rum brands in India which offers some of the best rum in India The brand draws the name from 17th-century privateer from Wales, Sir Henry Morgan, who died in 1688.
As a tribute to this seaman, labels of Captain Morgan rum carry the legend: “To Live, Love and Loot.”
If you love rich, dark rum, Captain Morgan is for you. Caribbean rum distillation processes are used to make Captain Morgan in India.
Hence, this rum comes with distinct fruity aroma and is slightly sticky on fingers. It has a honey-like flavour that indicates high-quality molasses used for its distillation.
Captain Morgan Price- Rs.700/750ml
4. McDowell’s No-1 Celebration XXX (United Spirits Ltd)
McDowell’s No-1 Celebration Rum is a popular rum brand in India.
However, in recent years, McDowell’s No-1 Celebration rum has been through doldrums, mainly due to massive competition from newer brands and upmarket range by established ones. McDowell’s No-1 Celebration rum continues to hold a sway over the market.
In appearance, McDowell’s No-1 Celebration rum has a slightly lighter shade like diluted cola. It is blended with matured rum and left in oak casks.
This imparts McDowell’s Celebration rum tones of chocolate, tobacco and cherry. These tones linger in the rum despite mixing with a cola, soda or water.
McDowell’s No-1 Celebration Price- Rs.600/750ml
5. Khodays XXX Rum (Khoday Breweries Ltd) Rs.600/750ml
Want to taste traditional ‘military rum’ of India. Go for Khoday’s XXX Rum. It is one of the oldest rum brands in India and is popular since the 1960s. Khoday’s XXX Rum is matured in oak casks at the company’s distillery near Bangalore. It is also blended with finest matured rum.
Khoday’s XXX Rum is best known for its strong taste and greater punch.
Though this brand has the standard ABV of 42.8%, its unique distillation process and flavour give it that added strength. This brand is available only in select markets of India.
However, you can order a flask of Khoday’s XXX Rum online from choosing vendors.
Khoday’s XXX Rum Price- Rs.600/750ml
6. Hercules XXX Rum (Khoday Breweries Ltd)
Another excellent product from the House of Khoday’s is Hercules XXX Rum. The name Hercules is aptly implying this rum is for stronger people. Despite its standard ABV of 42.8%, Hercules XXX Rum delivers the strongest punch for any product of its kind in the Indian market.
Hercules XXX Rum is a favourite among rum lovers. It is matured in oak vats and blended with other fine Indian rums.
Hence, it carries tonnes of wood, musk, chocolate and vanilla. Hercules XXX Rum is usually enjoyed without a mixer. Currently, this top rum brand is available in select markets of India only.
Hercules XXX Rum Price- Rs.700/750ml
7. Jolly Roger (Allied Blenders & Distillers Pvt. Ltd)
Jolly Roger is a premium dark rum brand in India. According to ABD, its distillers, Jolly Roger is a blend of fine Indian molasses rum and original, matured Jamaican pot-still varieties. Additionally, spices are used in its distillation process to give added flavour.
This rum is presented in unique flasks. The Jolly Roger brand is targeted at younger drinkers that prefer a smoother variety of rum. It has standard 42.8% ABV and is available in one-litre flasks too.
Jolly Roger Rum Price- Rs.600 onwards
8. Havana Club (Pernod Ricard India)
Havana Club is an internationally acclaimed brand of rum now available in India.
This is made possible by Pernod Ricard that owns a 50% share of the brand along with its original owners, Jose Archibald SA, an enterprise owned by an eponymous Cuban family.
If you are looking at tasting authentic Cuban rum, try Havana Club. The brand traces its origin to 1934.
Havana Club is the world’s fifth largest selling brand of rum. The brand is a relatively newer entrant in the Indian rum market but is steadily carving its own niche. Havana Club rum has exquisite notes including caramel, vanilla and dried nuts. It is matured in Cuban casks.
Havana Club Rum Price- Rs.900/ 750ml
9. Contessa XXX Rum (Radico-Khaitan Ltd)
Contessa XXX holds a 25% share of rum supplied to the Indian Armed Forces. This is another ‘military rum’ you can try. Contessa XXX rum is brewed with finest molasses. The traditional XXX mark signifies it has been matured in wooden casks using traditional rum recipes.
Compared to other brands, Contessa XXX has a slightly lighter, copper-like tinge. It has notes of leather, chocolate and old wood. A blend of caramel- vanilla notes makes this a great rum to have with or without a mixer.
Contessa XXX Rum Price- Rs.700/750ml
10. 8 PM Bermuda Rum (Radico-Khaitan Ltd) Rs.700/750ml
8 PM Bermuda Rum was launched by Radico-Khaitan Ltd to capitalise on the popularity of the eponymous whisky brand.
As the name suggests, 8 PM Bermuda is a variant of fine Caribbean rum. It is the only rum in India made with processes peculiar to Bermuda. Indeed, there are very few Bermudan rums made outside that country.
8 PM Bermuda is a dark rum. It is full-bodied and hence carries that distinct molasses and caramel flavour.
Smooth to drink, it can be had with or without a mixer. 8 PM Bermuda rum is for discerning drinkers since it does not offer an instant punch. Rather, it allows you to enjoy the drink at leisure, Caribbean style.
8 PM Bermuda Rum Price- Rs.700/750ml
The Final Thought
Traditionally, rum has never been favourite among India’s liquor consumers. It ranked fourth on the choice of alcoholic beverages among Indians. This scenario is changing rapidly. Not that Indians have become rum drinkers overnight.
Instead, they are now aware of different types of rums, their flavours and correct ways to enjoy this liquor. Earlier, only Indian rum was available while now you can buy Caribbean varieties too.
The popularity of alcohol-based cocktails, especially among younger Indians is also fueling some growth of the rum market. Rum-based pastries and recipes are also finding favour among Indians, especially in urban areas.
Prices may differ according to your location. Availability of certain brands will also depend on your area: a liquor made outside your state might not be available due to restrictions enforced by the Excise Department and other authorities.