These Easy, 3-Ingredient Rum Cocktails Will Transport You to the Islands

These simple recipes will up your at-home bartending skills.

rum cocktails recipes to make at home
Shyripa Alexandr/Shutterstock

Based on the explosion of tiki drinks and new releases of rums that are every bit as complex as whiskey, it seems like everyone suddenly remembered that rum is delicious. It works well in lowbrow drinks like a rum & Coke, which can be enjoyed at the seediest of dives, and is also equally at home in an elaborate parrot-shaped mug or as a neat, top-shelf pour.

You can also make a fantastic, complex cocktail out of it with just a few simple ingredients. Next time you’re bartending at home for anyone, break out these three-ingredient rum cocktails to impress everyone with minimal effort.

Like any sour, when done correctly, a daiquiri is sublime. Not the fructose-filled, blended variety you see at resorts, either. We're talking about the kind Hemingway enjoyed—the boozy, simple kind. It's incredibly hard to mess up, which makes it a simple go-to cocktail, and a good benchmark to size up new bars. If you order a daiquiri and it's anything but amazingly refreshing, switch to beer or a new bar.

• 2 ounces rum
• ½ ounce simple syrup
• 1 ounce fresh lime juice

Shake all ingredients over ice and strain into a coup glass, serve straight up.

Hands down the fastest way to achieve tropical vacation mode, the creamy blend of pineapple, coconut, and rum makes everything better. Insanely easy to make, this should be a year-round staple. Piña coladas are perfect for celebrating the warm weather of spring and summer, and for pretending it's warm during the chill of fall and winter.

• 1 cup frozen pineapple
• 2 ounces Coco Lopez cream of coconut
• 2 ounces rum

Combine all ingredients in a blender on high until frosty and creamy.

Ginger beer and lime make just about anything taste good, and seem especially well suited to sweet-and-spicy dark rum. This adult soda beverage pairs well with BBQs, sunny afternoons, and Instagram.

• 4 ounces ginger beer
• 2 ounces dark rum
• Lime wedge

Combine ginger beer and rum in a tall glass over ice, garnish with a lime wedge.

This attempt to make a rum and Coke fancy by adding a lime and a Spanish name is a little silly, but very delicious. That’s not to say you should order it by name at a bar if it’s not on the menu. Either way, the drink is delicious.

• 4 ounces Coca-Cola
• 2 ounces rum
• Lime wedge

Pour the rum and Coke in a glass over ice, garnish with a lime wedge. Hold the self-deprecating comments and be confident in drinking what makes you happy.

The Golden Child

This is a triple threat of flavors that will have you making your next round before you’re done with your first. First, add tamarind cordial to your arsenal—the pod-like fruit of tamarind combines with lemon zest and golden brown sugar for a unique liqueur that is equal parts sweet, tangy, and nutty. Its distilling methods also happen to make it the perfect companion to rum. But don’t stop there: Add a heavy-handed splash of ginger beer for a drink with invigorating zest.

• 1 ounce Tamarind Cordial (try: Von Humboldt’s)
• 2 ounces rum
• Splash of ginger beer

Stir ingredients over ice, then top with a splash (or two) of ginger beer. Garnish with a lime slice and serve.

Basically a smoothie, this drink is one of the more appropriate day-drinking options. It's not really about the spirit as much as it is basically about drinking a boozy popsicle, so any rum that is not spiced or super aged works well. For those who like it strong, add a rum floater on top.

• ⅔ cup frozen strawberries
• 1 ounce lime
• 2 ounces rum

Mix all ingredients in a blender on high until just combined.

This classic, which many of us remember from our honeymoon phase with alcohol, is still a potent, fruity mix worth your attention. Just like in the old days, pour a bunch of juice in a (probably Solo) cup, and add rum. Fresh, 100% juices are definitely best, but hey, there's no shame in substituting fruit punch juice product if that's your jam.

• 2 ounces orange juice
• 2 ounces pineapple juice
• 2 ounces rum

Combine ingredients in a cup over ice. Repeat. Frequently.

Rum Old Fashioned

Move over whiskey, because rum is about to school you at your own game. You'll need an aged rum for this twist on a classic, and unlike many of the other tutti-frutti rum drinks, this one is very much about the spirit, so splurge on something nice. Go ahead, you deserve it.

•1.5 ounces aged rum
• ½ ounce simple syrup
• 2 dashes Angostura bitters

Combine bitters and sugar in a rocks glass, add ice and whisky, stir to combine. Classy.

Maggie’s Fancy

Ah man, you’ve used up all your vacation days for the year, too? Luckily, you can still pretend you’re on a tropical getaway with this pineapple-infused rum cocktail and your feet up on the ottoman. This is not your mother’s Señor Frog’s punch, with a little cardamom bitters adding a gingery, citrusy kick. Hey, it’s cheaper than a flight to Maui.

• 2 ounces pineapple rum (try: Maggie's Farm 50/50 pineapple)
• ¼ ounce simple syrup
• 2 dashes cardamom bitters

Stir all ingredients together and strain into cocktail glass. Garnish with pineapple frond.

Rum Spritz

It's easy to overdo it with rum because it goes down so easy. Break out this little number when you and your friends need something a little lighter on the liver but aren't quite ready to call it quits. The club soda and lime will make one serving of rum last longer, and your probable hangover shorter.

• 1.5 ounces rum
• 3 ounces club soda
• Lime wedge

Combine rum and soda in a tall glass over ice and garnish with the lime wedge and a tiny umbrella if you’re feeling extra fancy.

Brass Monkey

“Brass Monkey” by the Beastie Boys is a classic. The drink—orange juice dumped in a 40 of Olde English—is a fitting reference. This is basically a rum-spiked screwdriver. If you’re feeling extra frisky, you can always batch them and serve them in 40s.

• 1 ounce dark rum
• 1 ounce vodka
• ¼ ounce orange juice

Stir and serve over a highball glass full of ice.

Cable Car

The Cable Car—born out of the Starlight Room atop the Sir Francis Drake Hotel in San Francisco—is Tony Abou-Ganim’s modern twist on the classic Sidecar (cognac, orange liqueur, and lemon juice.) It’s simple and balanced, yet a little ritzy. 

• 1½ ounce Captain Morgan Spiced Rum
• ¾ ounce Marie Brizard orange Curaçao
• 1½ ounce fresh lemon sour

Rub the rim of a chilled cocktail glass with a lemon and dip in a plate of cinnamon and sugar to frost. Add Captain Morgan, Curaçao, and lemon sour to an ice-filled mixing glass, shake, and pour into the cocktail glass.

Want more Thrillist? Follow us on InstagramTwitterPinterestYouTubeTikTok, and Snapchat.

Tess Rose Lampert is a Manhattan-based philosopher-turned-drink expert who spends her nights grappling with tough decisions like what to pair with Thai takeout and Netflix binges. It's often mezcal. Follow her to south-of-the-border pilgrimages: @TessRose211.

Brooke Sager is a contributing writer for Thrillist. Follow her winey adventures on Instagram and Twitter.

Alex Erdekian is a former editorial assistant at Thrillist.