The Best Rum Substitute for You [Including Non-Alcoholic]

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Rum is such a versatile beverage millions of people enjoy using or consuming daily.

You can use it as an ingredient for your savory dishes or desserts, or you can mix it in your cocktails, even drinking it alone!

It’s got that sweet and toasted, sugary flavor, making it such a hit in parties and cooking applications. But what if you don’t have any rum at home? What are you going to do?

We pulled together the best rum substitute list to help you out, so read on!

What Is A Good Substitute for Rum in Cookings and Cocktails?

We don’t only use rum as a beverage, but the alcoholic content is also great in cooking. Rum can bring out a fantastic aroma, making dishes taste even better.

Fun fact: The Caribbean is most famous for its rum production.

So, if you don’t have this beverage in the kitchen or liquor cabinet, rum substitutes still capture the flavors you want out of your food or drinks.

Try any of these rum substitutes for a change!

1. Brandy

The taste of brandy will vary based on the drink’s age, brand, and fruits used for production. But in general, all types of brandy would have a fruity undertone with a subtle sweetness.

We highly recommend using brandy in sweet desserts such as truffles, fruit cake, or chocolate mousse. When mixing brandy with other ingredients, you get that yummy, boozy flavor that people will want more of!

Use brandy in dishes that have an exotic taste, such as sauces and meats.

2. Bourbon

If you need a good substitute for rum in cocktails, you can’t go wrong with bourbon, especially with Daiquiris.

However, note that rum tastes sweeter as it’s made with molasses and sugar cane. Because of that, you’ll need to adjust the amount of sugar you add to your drinks.

3. Cognac

Cognac is a kind of brandy you should consider always having in the kitchen. It tastes a bit sweeter and spicier, so we love cognac in beef broth, stews, and sauces.

If you like mixing rum and raisin ice cream but have no rum on hand, you can use cognac. The same goes with bananas foster; you might even begin using cognac permanently.

As for cocktails, you can substitute equal amounts of rum with cognac in a Cuba libre or Dark and Stormy. If you’re serving drinks in a punch bowl, you can pour cognac liberally in it for parties!

You can also combine cognac with olives, fruits, and nuts. Expect it to add more richness to sauces and meat dishes.

4. Marsala Wine

Rum is a popular ingredient in tiramisu, trifles, and similar desserts. In many recipes, you can use marsala wine as a good substitute for rum!

Marsala is a kind of fortified wine with hints of brown sugar and vanilla bean, working excellently in. decadent desserts. Plus, you can find marsala wine in liquor stores easily.

If you don’t have any marsala available, you can also opt for Madeira, a similar fortified wine.

5. Tequila

It can’t be a party without tequila! This drink is made from distilling sugars from the blue agave plant.

While tequila does have a slightly different taste than rum, it would still work in different cocktails. We love using it in a Zombie, pina colada, or Mai Tai!

You can also use tequila as a good substitute for rum in many recipes, especially in seafood like oysters, shrimp, or Mexican cuisine. Plus, there are so many kinds of tequila to use! You’ve got white tequila, gold tequila, depending on what you prefer.

Uses gold tequila for gold rum and white tequila for white rum.

6. Cachaca

Cachaca may be more expensive than rum in certain areas, but it’s definitely worth having. This is also called Brazilian rum, with aged bottles having hints of Christmas spices and dried fruits.

The drink is made of fermented and distilled sugar cane, while rum is made of molasses.

You can use Cachaca in various cocktails that require rum, particularly the Caipirinha. It also pairs amazingly with ginger ale, orange blossom, and like.

While you can use Cachaca for cooking, we recommend getting another cheaper type of brandy.

7. Gin

This spirit gets its flavor from juniper berries, giving it a unique taste. It’s also a great alternative to rum in cooking and light-colored cocktails using rum.

We love using gin with mojitos and pina Coladas for the botanical flavor. Besides drinks, you can use gin in pasta, poultry, or fish recipes. It’s also great to use in preserves or autumnal pies.

Gin is also very herbaceous, floral, and filled with flavor. Because of that, we suggest using half the amount of rum required in the recipe first, adding more if needed.

8. Sherry

Cooking sherry is an affordable substitute for rum in sauces and desserts. It’s a type of sweet fortified wine for bread pudding or Christmas pudding as it adds a sweet and nutty flavor. The drink has a gentle touch of manzanilla and delicate acidity as well.

Similar to brandy, sherry is sweeter than rum. Because of that, we recommend reducing the amount of sugar required in recipes to avoid overly sweet desserts.

9. Amaretto

If you want an excellent substitute for rum but don’t like the flavor of rum, you should try amaretto! Amaretto is a famous liqueur that has an almond flavor.

It’s ideal with chocolate sauce and certain nut-based desserts, like rum cake or pear tarts.

10. Rum Extract

For those looking for a low-alcoholic rum alternative, opt for rum extract. This ingredient contains rum, alcohol, water, and natural flavoring. However, the rum taste is concentrated, so only a very small amount is required.

You can use rum extract in many recipes that call for actual rum. Use it in cookies, cupcakes, pies, marinades, and rubs. Or, you can use it in cocktails and mocktails. When replacing the rum with extract, use one teaspoon extract for every tablespoon of rum required.

To get the best flavor, get the high-quality extract. Note that rum extract may contain rum in small quantities, so we can’t consider it a non-alcoholic replacement. However, the process reduces the alcohol content when you cook the extract.

If you want a completely alcohol-free rum extract, use rum essence instead. You can also opt for imitation rum.

The Best Non-Alcoholic Substitutions for Rum

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So far, we have only mentioned alcoholic rum substitutes. Of course, we didn’t forget about those who can’t drink or consume anything with an alcoholic beverage.

While the cooking process will reduce the alcohol content of rum, some of it still remains. Some people will want to use a non-alcoholic replacement instead to play it safe.

Here are the ingredients you can substitute rum with, sans the alcohol.

1. Apple Juice or Apple Cider

Apple juice is sweet and acidic, perfect for salads, dips, and dressings that call for rum. Its flavor resembles the taste of rum.

Use half a cup of apple juice for every one tablespoon of rum.

Alternatively, you can use apple cider, which is unfiltered apple juice. It has a much stronger flavor than apple juice, though you’ll have to add less first, adding more if needed.

2. Orange Juice

Orange juice is another excellent option with a natural and balanced sweetness with the right acidity levels. The juice might also have some hints of bitterness, though it still works as a substitute.

We recommend using this in marinades, seasonings, and dipping sauces. Like apple juice, use half a cup of orange juice for every tablespoon of rum.

3. White Grape Juice

White grape juice is another healthy non-alcoholic alternative with a sweet and refreshing taste. It works well in recipes calling for rum, such as beverages, savory dishes, and desserts.

Use half a cup of white grape juice for every tablespoon of rum needed in recipes. If you’re fine with adding a bit of alcohol to your juice, then you can add a few drops of rum extract.

4. Molasses

Molasses is a good substitute when replacing dark rum. Round out its flavor by mixing a few drops of almond extract with a splash of apple, orange, or pineapple juice.

5. Vanilla Extract

If you’re in a real pinch, vanilla extract works in dessert recipes. While you don’t get the same depth of flavor, it will still taste great without the alcohol.

Frequently Asked Questions

We’ve got a lot more information about rum and the substitutes you can use! Check out our frequently asked questions:

1. What is rum?

Rum is one of the most common and popular beverages worldwide, a strong liquor distilled from sugar cane. (*) Rum is actually a by-product of cane juice and molasses!

You can find dark or white rum, which you can either drink on its own or mix with cocktails.

Fun fact: You can use rum in cocktails like Daiquiris and Coconut Cloud Martinis.

2. What does rum taste like?

Dark rum tastes sweet, while white rum may be dry, having traces of bitterness.

3. What rum do I use for cooking?

We highly recommend using dark and aged rum for cooking because of its strong flavor. It works excellently in stews and pork dishes, bringing out the full taste.

4. Can I use whiskey as a rum alternative?

Yes, you can replace the rum with whiskey. In fact, it’s one of the suitable options for your savory dishes and sweet desserts. It’s a strong liquor you can find in many applications in cooking!

5. What’s a rum extract substitute?

If you have no rum extract but want something similar, we recommend using imitation rum, vanilla essence, or vanilla extract for baked goods or sweet desserts.

6. What’s a good substitute for rum in tiramisu?

You can use dark or white rum for tiramisu. Use brandy, cognac, or coffee liquor if you have none of that on hand. Use equal amounts as needed, or you can add more until you reach your desired flavor.

Wrapping It Up

We hope you found the best rum substitutes based on our list! Try any of these alternatives now, and let us know what worked best for your recipes.

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