The Rum & Coke: How Not to Ruin This Simple Drink

Rum and coke
Claire Cohen
  • Total: 3 mins
  • Prep: 3 mins
  • Cook: 0 mins
  • Yield: 1 cocktail (1 serving)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
191 Calories
0g Fat
15g Carbs
0g Protein
See Full Nutritional Guidelines Hide Full Nutritional Guidelines
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 1 cocktail (1 serving)
Amount per serving
Calories 191
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 5mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 15g 5%
Dietary Fiber 0g 0%
Protein 0g
Calcium 1mg 0%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

The Rum & Coke is an unbelievably simple yet satisfying cocktail. Everything that you need to know about mixing this popular drink is right there in the name. That being said, even the easiest of mixed drinks can be made just a little better (or worse) and deserves a bit more attention than it often receives.

At its most basic level, the Rum & Coke will be as simple as a pour of your favorite rum in a tall glass filled with ice. It is finished off with a cola (Coca-Cola is the soda of choice) and a lime wedge. As many drinkers can attest, however, it is easy to get a bad Rum & Coke.

Ingredients

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Pour the rum into a highball glass filled with ice.

  3. Top with cola.

  4. Garnish with a lime wedge.

  5. Serve and enjoy!

The Proportions

Where the Rum & Coke often goes bad is the ratio of the two ingredients. It is such an easy drink that bartenders—pro and amateur alike—typically dismiss the need for a balances flavors. This results in a drink that is either "burnt" with alcohol or too sweet with soda.

The problem comes to light when drinkers try to"fix" a bad Rum & Coke. All too often, they feel that they ​didn't pour enough rum because they can't taste it, so they add another shot. Now they have a double shot of rum and, unless another splash of Coke is added, the drink is too strong and "burnt." This is great if you want to get drunk, but not so good if you want to taste a good drink.

What are the best proportions for a Rum & Coke? Typically, most drinkers will find a ratio of 1:2 or 1:3 to have the best flavor and much of that will depend on the rum you choose.

Tips

  • The 1:2 pour creates a classically-styled Rum & Coke. To make this in the average 10-ounce highball glass, pour 2 ounces of rum and 4 ounces of Coke.
  • The 1:3 pour is often preferred by modern drinkers because we tend to like drinks a little sweeter. This version would use 2 ounces of rum with 6 ounces of Coke.
  • Don't worry that either of those pours will not fill the 10-ounce glass. You should have already filled your glass with ice, which will take up the rest of the volume; consider ice to be the Rum & Coke's third ingredient.
  • It is tempting to pour any old rum that is on the rail or well into a Rum & Coke. The theory is that this is too simple of a drink and should not be used to waste a perfectly good shot of booze, so people tend to use the cheap stuff. Do yourself a favor and pour a rum you wouldn't mind drinking straight.
  • White rums are the most popular base for a Rum & Coke though you might also really enjoy it with an aged rum.

Recipe Variations

  • By rights, the Rum & Coke is made with Coca-Cola and this is what the bartender will give you at the bar. Some drinkers prefer Pepsi because it is a softer cola and that is perfectly fine. Be sure to order a "Rum & Pepsi" at the bar if this is your preference.
  • You will notice a big difference in Coke that is sold in the U.S. and the soda meant for other markets in the world which use real sugar. These make the Coke you're used to with high fructose corn syrup (HFCS) pale in comparison. The demand for real sugar Coke has made it easier to find in the U.S., so if you spot it, stock up.
  • Other colas, particularly those designed specifically as mixers for cocktails (e.g., Q Kola and Fever-Tree Madagascan Cola), will improve this drink even more. Give them a try, especially if you're trying to avoid HFCS.
  • Adding the juice from a lime will create a drink called the Cuba Libre.

How Strong Is a Rum & Coke?

Despite its reputation, the properly poured Rum & Coke is a surprisingly light drink because the cola and ice make up the most of the drink's volume. With an 80-proof rum, the 1:2 Rum & Coke weighs in at 12 percent ABV (24 proof) and the 1:3 is a little lighter at 9.5 percent ABV (19 proof).