November 9, 2021
Rum and citrus fruits are a match made in paradise. This liquor, which hails from the idyllic islands of the Caribbean, is part sweet, part spicy, making it the perfect base for drinks containing sour lemon or lime.
This heavenly combination is central to some of the world’s most beloved beverages like daiquiris, hurricanes, and sour cocktails. Whether it’s a simple rum drink or has complex mixology, most contain a splash of the tangy flavors of lemon or lime.
Acid is one of the five key flavor categories, alongside salt, sweetness, fat, and bitterness. Sour ingredients help round out the flavor profile of cocktails, which are most often sweet and bitter, and sometimes salty or rich. Take the salt rim on a classic margarita, for example, or the coconut creme in frosty island cocktails. Many drinks connoisseurs prefer their liquors served neat or on the rocks with just a dash of lemon or lime juice and no extra mixers.
Before we get into the recipes, we want to let you in a little secret. Lemon and lime, whether in the kitchen or behind the bar, are pretty interchangeable. Yes, you can squeeze lemon juice into fresh guacamole if you’re out of lime. Yes, you can put lime juice in a salad dressing that regularly calls for lemon. The taste won’t be exactly the same, but the swap will still bring the acid component.
Feel free to experiment with your own citrusy creations, making tweaks to the rum cocktail recipes below. You can make lemon and lime cocktails interchangeably. Perhaps you’ll even dream up a tasty hybrid preparation.
5 delicious drinks with rum and lemon
1. Rum Sour
As the name implies, the primary ingredients in this drink are rum and sour lemon. To make, combine 2 ounces of dark rum, a three-quarters ounce of freshly squeezed lemon juice, and a three-quarters ounce of simple syrup in a shaker with ice. Strain over ice cubes in a rocks glass and garnish with a lemon slice, a mint sprig, and a maraschino cherry.
To save some time, substitute the other ingredients for a sweet and sour mix. Simply shake up rum, sweet and sour mix, and plenty of ice, and then strain and serve as described above.
There are countless variations of this drink, but only one is the classic. If you’re envisioning an enormous, slushy Cuban cocktail with white rum and lime juice, adorned with a kitschy cocktail umbrella, think again. The original daiquiri contains 1 ½ ounces of light rum, the juice of half of a lemon or lime, and one-quarter ounce of simple syrup. Shake up with ice and strain into a martini glass. Garnish the daiquiri with lime or lemon wedges or twists, or keep things simple and serve as is.
3. Spiked lemonade
If you’re having guests over and you’re in a bit of a hurry, stir up some lemonade spiked with rum. To make, simply combine 2 ounces of light rum for every 6 ounces of homemade or store-bought lemonade in a large pitcher. Serve this drink chilled and garnish with mint sprigs, cocktail cherries, and lemon wheels. You can even add in a bit of tropical flavor by switching out the light rum for a coconut rum like Malibu.
4. Spiked ice tea
This drink is another quick but satisfying crowd-pleaser. You can stir up a big batch of spiked ice tea by combining 3 ounces of rum per every 12 ounces of homemade or store-bought sweet tea in a large pitcher.
If you make your own tea for this recipe, wait until it’s completely cooled before adding the liquor. You don’t want it to burn off. Stir some fresh lemon juice into the pitcher, and chill in the refrigerator. Serve this easy cocktail cold. Garnish each serving glass with a lemon wedge.
A hurricane, one of the world’s most famous mixed drinks, has a cocktail glass made especially for it. While this glass (known as a hurricane glass) was named after similarly-shaped hurricane lamps, the drink and this glass are now inseparable, practically one in the same. New Orleans bartenders created this cocktail when there was an excess of rum after World War II, and this famed drink has since become a favorite across the globe.
To make, combine 2 ounces of light rum, 2 ounces of dark rum, 1 ounce of fresh lime juice, 1 ounce of freshly squeezed orange juice, one-half ounce of passion fruit puree, one-half of ounce simple syrup, and 1 teaspoon of grenadine in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and then strain into a hurricane glass full of ice cubes. Garnish with an orange slice and a speared cocktail cherry.
Other (non-rum) classic cocktails with lemon
- Lemon drop martini
- Bloody Mary
- Gin fizz
- Whisky sour
- French 75
- Tom Collins
- Long Island Iced Tea
- Amaretto sour
- Corpse reviver
If you’re ready to become a better bartender, this weekend is as good a time as any. Place an order for rum, lemon, and lime from Gopuff and they’ll say “aye aye, captain” in return. Dust off your cocktail shaker because those ingredients will be at your door in minutes.