Using Coca-cola as the mixer in your mixed drink might sound like taking the easy way out of making or drinking cocktails, but there's no reason it can't be a good drink. If, for example, rum and coke is your thing, you can elevate the concoction to a well-balanced and tasty drink without a lot of trouble. It's a two ingredient drink, so you need to use quality ingredients and find the right balance. The first place to start is finding the best rum for rum and coke.
The rum and coke seems like such a simple drink, but if you don't get it just right, it can be too sweet or too sharp. The basic instruction for this drink is easy: add ice to a highball glass, pour in the rum, and then add the coke. The key is to actually measure both ingredients to get the proportions right. Use either a 1:2 or 1:3 ratio, meaning one part rum to two or three parts Coke. If you like your drinks on the sweet side, use the 1:3 ratio.
You can also use Mexican Coke (Coca-cola made with real sugar instead of high fructose corn syrup) or a craft cola for a slightly different flavor profile. If you must, you can even use Pepsi.
For an easy variation on this popular drink, add fresh lime juice and garnish your drink with a lime wedge for a Cuba libre.
Best rum for rum and coke
Most rum and cokes use white rum, but dark rum or spiced rum works as well. Don't get the cheapest rum. You want to use a high-quality rum, one that you would be happy to drink straight. Happily, that doesn't necessarily translate to expensive rum; there are great inexpensive rum brands that are perfect in this most low maintenance of rum cocktails.
Here are three of the best rums for rum and coke.
Bacardi Carta Blanca
You can't go wrong with Bacardi light rum in a rum and coke. First made in 1862, this Cuban rum is now called Bacardi Superior. It's a blend of rums aged in bourbon casks, so you get tropical fruit, brown sugar and vanilla notes. It's smooth and a little spicy and goes perfectly with Coca-cola.
Captain Morgan Caribbean White Rum
This rum is a little sweeter, so if you like your drinks on the sweeter side, this is a good one to choose. A little bit of lime juice balances the sugar, so this rum is perfect for a Cuba libre.
Gosling's Gold Seal Rum
Gosling's Black Seal Rum is best known in the Dark 'n Stormy cocktail (ginger beer, lime and rum), but for a rum and coke, the Gold Seal is even better. The caramel and vanilla notes balance the soda perfectly, so you get a complex but dangerously drinkable cocktail.