Best Rum Substitutes With And Without Alcohol

Rum Substitute

If you find yourself looking for rum substitutes, you have two problems. One, you’re probably out of rum, which is bad enough. Two, you’ll need to find something that offers the same complex flavors and taste as rum.

As a cooking ingredient, rum is effective and tasteful. It gives an amazing taste and texture to food, especially baked goods, while also adding an amazing aroma.

When not utilized in cooking and flavoring, rum is a popular alcoholic drink by itself. This strong liquor is distilled from sugarcane and is much desired for its taste and kick. Whether your recipe calls for white or dark rum, there are a few competent replacements to use. Many of these are alcoholic, though there are a few non-alcoholic substitutes for rum as well.

Learn more: Best Rum Extract Substitutes For Cooking And Baking

Top Alcoholic Rum Substitutes For Your Recipes

1. Brandy

Brandy is a good choice when you want a substitution for meats and sauces. It’s phenomenal for deglazing and can add a nice splash of flavor to pastries as well. Since rum is a strong liquor, it’s best to use a strong brandy. Usually, an 80 proof brandy will do.

While the exact taste and flavor will depend on the fruits used to make brandy and how much it has aged, a good brandy will usually work as a rum replacement. Try brandy in a 1:2 ratio. This means use one spoon of brandy where the recipe calls for two spoons of rum. 

Learn more: The Best Brandy Substitute For Your Cooking Or Baking

2. Cognac

If you’re going with brandy, cognac can’t be far behind! Though it is famous in its own right, cognac is a type of brandy. It’s available in many flavors and is absolutely divine with cocktails. It is a bit sweeter and spicier, but it will happily replace rum in sweet as well as savory recipes. 

Cognac has a high acid content, so avoid using too much of it in a recipe. To replace rum, a 1:1 ratio will do just fine.

3. Bourbon

Bourbon is an excellent replacement for rum in cocktails. It’s not that impressive when used in recipes, so perhaps keep that for other substitutes. Keep in mind, rum feels sweeter than bourbon, so be prepared to make adjustments if necessary!

Read more: Best Bourbon Substitutes That Match Its Depth Of Flavor

4. Gin

Want a solid alternative to rum? Try gin. Made from juniper berries, this strong liquor will take over the role of rum in cocktails. Gin works best with savory recipes that involve meat, fish, or pasta. You might give it a shot with baked goods as well, though it doesn’t particularly impress in that arena.

When using a replacement, one spoon of rum equals two spoons of gin.

5. Tequila

Tequila shots are at the heights of their popularity and it can fix a mean margarita as well. Plenty of other drinks and a few recipes call for this strong liquor. Derived from the blue agave plant (which also gives us agave nectar), tequila can work as a decent replacement for rum.

The replacement will see the best results with fish, though it can be acceptable for seafood as well. The replacement ratio here is 1:1, which means you can replace rum with tequila in equal parts. 

As an aside, that song (or music) has been stuck in my head since I started writing this. Tequila!

6. Sherry

Sherry liquor is a fortified wine with excellent flavor and a touch of sweetness. These qualities make it a good substitute for rum, if not an ideal one. Its delicate acidity and flavor make it a great choice for desserts and baked goods. 

Some taste-testing can be necessary when replacing rum with sherry. In many cases, using one spoon of sherry for every spoon of rum will do. However, you might sometimes want to use sherry liquor in twice the amount of rum to get more of the flavor.

7. Cachaça

For most of the world, Cachaça or Brazilian rum might be difficult to come by. However, if you have it at hand, it can work as a decent substitute for rum. It can replace rum in most cocktails, though it doesn’t quite have the same touch for cooking. 

Non-Alcoholic Substitutes For Rum

It is no surprise that most substitutes for rum contain alcohol. However, if you’re looking for a non-alcoholic substitute, some more effort is necessary. When using rum or another spirit for cooking, we assume that the heat evaporates alcohol.

That is true, but there are limitations. Cooking usually doesn’t evaporate all alcohol. Unless you cook for several hours, small amounts of alcohol may still be in the dish. So, if you’re avoiding alcohol, take a look at some of these options.

8. Rum Extract

Here’s an excellent way to replace rum without sacrificing the flavor or taste. Rum extract can bring all the flavors of rum to cooking and has an excellent shelf life to boot. It isn’t the best for cocktails, though some enterprising culinary experts could make it work for cocktails and mocktails.

While many commercial rum extract options are non-alcoholic, you will find some alcoholic options as well. Be sure to read the label and ingredients carefully when you buy.

9. Apple Juice

The sweet and acidic apple juice can work as a good substitute for rum. Of course, there is going to be a taste and flavor difference, but it works out fairly well for dressings or salads. Use ½ a cup of apple juice for every spoon of rum. Do make sure the recipe can handle all that extra liquid!

10. Apple Cider Or Apple Cider Vinegar

In the USA, apple cider is usually unfiltered apple juice. Its stronger flavor can work in its favor when using cider to replace rum. In most parts of the world, apple cider means hard cider, so it can have alcohol. 

It still works as a rum replacement, but be sure you read the ingredients well. Start with a quarter (¼ cup) of apple cider (unfiltered) for a spoon of rum. Increase the amount if necessary.

Apple Cider Vinegar works similarly, though with a different flavor. There is no alcohol in this but it contains acetic acid. It adds a nice touch to most recipes, though it doesn’t have a conspicuous presence of apple flavor. You can use it as a replacement for equal amounts of rum in some recipes. However, it’s best to start small and keep tabs on the taste.

11. Amaretto

Amaretto is an almond extract and finds favor as a baking ingredient. For its love of baking, amaretto will replace rum for many recipes. But there is a hitch here. Using amaretto will cause a noticeable change in the taste and texture of the recipe.

It can work as a 1:1 replacement. Some experimentation and changes will be necessary to get the taste and texture right.

Read more: 6 Best Almond Extract Substitutes

12. Orange Juice

Its balanced sweetness, acidity, and even hints of bitterness make orange juice a somewhat usable replacement for rum. Its strong flavor doesn’t make it the best choice but it can come in handy in a pinch. 

The best way to use orange juice is with marinades. The presence of seasonings and dipping sauces will cover for its strong flavor, making the presence of orange juice more pleasant and appealing.

13. Molasses With A Mix Of Juices

Using molasses is a good option to replace dark rum. It adds a similar color and a touch of sweetness, but it can be way too syrupy to replace rum. One good way around this is to create a mix of juices to go along the molasses. 

Mix all (or whatever is available) juices like white grape juice, apple juice, apple cider, and pineapple juice. Add a touch of amaretto to this mix and combine it with the molasses. Remember to only use a small amount of the juices, so they don’t overshadow the molasses or throw off the substitution.

Learn more: 8 Best Pernod Substitutes For Delicious Recipes

FAQ

What Is The Main Ingredient Of Rum?

Rum is made from sugarcane. In most cases, it is made from molasses, which is a by-product of sugar production. This gives rum its unique profile and a touch of a sweet flavor, though it’s not overpowering. In beverages, this sweetness is barely tasted. But it makes itself known in sweeter recipes like baking sweets and pastries.

Can You Drink Rum On Keto?

A keto diet requires steering clear of carbohydrates. In this sense, rum is a good option since it has no carbs. Other famous alcoholic drinks like whiskey, gin, and tequila fit this bill too. Even though they have no carbs, keep a check on your consumption. Too much alcohol isn’t doing favors to any diet!

What Is A Good Dark Rum Substitute?

You can find plenty of good dark rum substitutes. The best choice would be rum extract, but other options like brandy cognac, tequila, and sherry will take on the role. If you don’t want alcohol in the dish, choose non-alcoholic rum extract, apple cider, amaretto, and even apple juice will do the job.

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