Whether Cuban rum is considered the best rum in the world is subjective and depends on personal preferences. 

There is no “best rum”. Only your favourite. 

As is the case with most products, those who take the most care, passion, and pride in their work, over simply producing a lot of something cheaply, will make a great product and the process of making rum is given that due care and consideration all over the world, including Cuba.


Alright, so the above might be true. But let’s get debate stirring by making a case for Cuban rum being the ultimate rum anyway. We’re going to showcase its top brands, a selection of fine bottlings, rate its cocktail game, cover how Cuban rum is made, and finally, what makes it so special. 

Top Cuban rum distilleries/brands: 

Cuba has about a dozen rum distilleries, the largest of which is Havana Club. Other notable brands include Ron Santiago De Cuba, Ron Cubay, Legendario, Black Tears, Ron La Progesiva, Emimente, Sao Can, Ron Varadero, Pacto Navio, San Lino, Ron Vigia, Ron Mulata.

People enjoying Ron Santiago de Cuba

Top Cuban rums: 

Eminente Reserva 7 Year Old Rum 70cl – A rich and smooth 7-year-old rum with complex flavors of vanilla, caramel, and tropical fruit.

Havana Club Seleccion de Maestros Rum 70cl – A masterfully crafted rum offering a balanced blend of toasted pecans, spices, and cocoa.

Ron Santiago de Cuba 11 Years Old Añejo Superior Rum 70cl – An elegant 11-year-old rum with notes of dried fruits, nuts, and a hint of oak.

Legendario Añejo Rum 70cl – A premium añejo rum with a smooth profile and hints of vanilla, dried fruits, and caramel.

Ron Cubay 1870 Extra Añejo Rum 70cl – An exquisite extra añejo rum with rich notes of dark chocolate, vanilla, and oak.

Black Tears Spiced Rum 70cl – A unique spiced rum infused with coffee, cacao, and a hint of pepper for a bold flavour.

Ron La Progresiva 13 Rum 70cl – A sophisticated 13-year-old rum offering deep flavours of dried fruits, spices, and a touch of sweetness.

Original Cuban rum cocktails: 

The Daiquiri, Mojito, Cuba Libre, El Presidente, Hemingway Daiquiri, Canchánchara… What a list. That’s just a snapshot of what Cuba offers too. It’s a cocktail mecca.

Beat that, other countries. 

Eminente maestro ronero Cesar Marti

Eminente maestro ronero Cesar Marti

How Cuban rum is made

The process of making rum in Cuba is unique to the island. Nobody else makes rum quite the same way with the same regulations (which are strict in rum terms) with the same sugar cane. In over 80 countries in the world, you find sugarcane. But Cuban cane has a fierce reputation, with factors like soil and climate contributing to a great product. As you need the right grapes to make a great wine, the best cane will make the best rum.  

To make Cuban rum, you must use Cuban sugarcane, which is crushed to extract the guarapo (juice). This can be distilled, but more commonly it’s boiled to produce molasses or sugar. Water and yeast are added to the molasses in tanks to ferment and the resulting liquid (vino de caña) is then distilled in copper columns stills. Unlike many parts of the Caribbean, all Cuban rum is column distilled. Originally pot stills were used, common until the mid-19th century, but as part of the Spanish colonies  Cuba made rum tailored to the tastes of the Spanish crown. It requested lighter, crisper, and delicately flavoured spirits that were more efficiently made in column stills. 

In Cuba, the spirit that runs off the stills is called aguardiente. It is aged in oak barrels, often American, for two years – another requirement that sets Cuban rum apart from other rums – and this spirit is referred to as the madre (or mother) by the distillery’s Maestros de Ron (rum master blenders). The madre is filtered through charcoal and blended with aguardiente and then re-casked for additional maturation. This blending of madre and aguardiente could occur several times, and each time it will be re-casked to age further. 

It’s a precise, singular production process that helps make Cuban rum so fascinating and delicious. 

Havana Club Rum ageing in barrels

Cuban rum has a long history and its production is full of tradition and pride

What rum means to Cuba

Rum is everything to Cuba. It’s a product of Cuban climate, geography, history, and people and in turn, it has helped the national identity more than any classic car or revolutionary iconography, and as much as any cigar. 

Generations have perfected the craft, one taken incredibly seriously. Anybody could open a distillery in Scotland and call themselves a Scotch whisky master blender. In Cuba, the Maestros de Ron are a select few, regulated by law and by their own respect for the tradition and significance of the position. “Cuban rum has its own specificities that are very hard to replicate anywhere else than in Cuba,” a quote from Don Juan Carlos Gonzalez, Maestro del Ron Cubano, reads on the wall of the Havana Rum Club museum in Havana. The Denominación de Origen Protegida, the body of regulation that protects the category, strictly enforces the use of all things Cuban, from raw material to climate.

The appreciation of Cuban rum spreads way past its borders. People are fascinated by the country and what it makes. There’s the forbidden fruit nature, the lure of the myths and the history of Hemingway and Daiquiris. This is not some pirate and tiki notion of rum, much like with its cigars there’s an understanding that when rum is Cuban, that means something. Cuba has a uniquely welcoming hospitality, as any tourist will tell you, and a hearty measure of rum forms the bedrock of it and so much else. 

If Cuban skin is wrapped in cigar leaves, then their blood drips with rum. Cuban rum is found in every restaurant, bar, dance hall, club, and hotel. It’s used in cooking. Everybody drinks it, across all demographics, all over the country. Rum feeds into the tourist tea-shop version of Cuba. But it also genuinely informs the lived reality of this country. To know Cuba, you have to know its national drink. 

That’s why Cuban rum is the best rum in the world.

Cuban style hat, rum, and cigar close up

For all the stereotypes and narratives, rum really is a part of Cuba

Or is it? 

What do you think? 

Which rum country should we consider next? Jamaica? Barbados? Martinique? 

Let us know!

You can buy Cuban rum from Master of Malt by clicking the link.