Malibu Rum is a brand of rum that's best known for producing coconut-flavored rum. While the original bottle is extremely popular, Malibu Black takes the Barbados-produced coconut rum to a bolder level. It is not only more robust, but it also has a deeper, more natural tropical coconut flavor without a syrupy sugar aftertaste. This is a fantastic upgrade that appeals to rum drinkers of every taste, and it makes gratifying coconut cocktails.
Malibu Black vs. Malibu Original Rum
Malibu Original and Malibu Black are technically coconut-flavored rum liqueurs because they are under 40 percent alcohol by volume (ABV, 80 proof) and sweetened with additional sugars. The two bottles sell for about the same price, though the main difference is that Malibu Original is 21 percent ABV (42 proof) while Malibu Black is a bit stronger at 35 percent ABV (70 proof) and not as sweet. Black's higher alcohol content produces a bolder coconut flavor with more kick, so it will not get lost in heavily flavored cocktails and is rather enjoyable when served on the rocks.
- Ingredients: Caribbean rum, coconut flavoring, sugar
- Proof: 70
- ABV: 35%
- Calories in a 1 1/2-ounce shot: 103
- Origin: Barbados
- Taste: Sweet, coconut
- Serve: shots, on the rocks, cocktails
What Is Malibu Black Rum Made From?
Rum is a distilled alcoholic drink created from sugarcane byproducts (most commonly molasses). Distilled rum has origins in the 17th-century Caribbean, where enslaved communities worked harvesting sugar cane under inhumane conditions. Barbados claims to be the home of rum, and that is where Malibu Rum is distilled today.
The Malibu Rum brand was launched in 1978 under the name Coco Rico, produced by Gilbeys in South Africa. At the time, bars were mixing up countless sweet, fruity drinks, so it was an ideal moment to introduce a coconut rum. The marketers behind the brand labeled it as a liqueur, so it could appear on TV commercials from which hard liquor was banned. To add to its popularity, just a year later, Rupert Holmes recorded the song "Escape," which is better known as "The Piña Colada Song." With everything falling into place, the timing was perfect for an affordable tropical-flavored rum. Its success saw Malibu in nearly every bar, and it would become a favorite option in the piña colada cocktail.
Not many of the details behind making Malibu Rums are revealed. However, it is a Caribbean triple-distilled rum produced by the West Indies Rum Distillery in Barbados. The light-bodied white rum is blended with natural coconut flavoring and sugar. According to the brand's website, Malibu Black does not contain dairy, eggs, peanuts, soy, or wheat.
International Distillers & Vintners, which later became the liquor industry giant Diageo, was the original company to own the Malibu brand. In 2002, Malibu was sold to Allied Domecq, which Pernod Ricard acquired in 2005. Today, Malibu is part of The Absolut Company (owned by Pernod Ricard), alongside iconic liquor brands like Absolut Vodka and Kahlúa.
What Does Malibu Black Rum Taste Like?
Malibu Black is a delicious rum that's lightly sweetened and perfectly flavored with coconut. It has a pleasing dry, dark coconut taste against rich rum notes of vanilla and caramel. Unlike many flavored rum liqueurs that coat the mouth with syrup, the finish is surprisingly dry and has a lingering coconut taste that entices you to take the next sip.
How to Drink Malibu Black Rum
Malibu Black is darker, bolder, and less sweet than the typical coconut rum. That makes it an excellent candidate to drink straight, though it is best on the rocks. Add a squeeze of lime to liven it up, or pour a splash of seltzer to make the drink more refreshing. A lightly sweetened cola or ginger beer is a nice option, too.
This coconut rum shines in cocktails and will create a darker base flavor than other options. Mix it into any cocktail that calls for coconut rum—including the blue Hawaiian and coconut martini—or explore its potential in other tropical rum drinks. Malibu Black makes a fantastic Piña Colada or dark and stormy, and the coconut flavor pairs well with mango, orange, passion fruit, pineapple, and most types of berries. It also works with chocolate, coffee, cream, and vanilla when you want a delicious dessert cocktail.
In general, coconut rum is a versatile cocktail mixer, and Malibu Black's bolder profile is one of the best options on the market. Since it's not too sweet, it's an excellent choice for a variety of cocktail recipes, from decadent martinis to tropical delights and even warm and comforting drinks.
Dr. James Espey. The Truth Behind the Truth of Malibu Rum. International Opulence Magazine. 2014.