I drink my rum straight. Recently was sipping on a glass of rum and a mate poured some cubes (before filling the rum) into his glass.

If this is not the same difference of opinions vis a vis whiskey & cubes, I’d appreciate some (distinct) criticisms of the pros and cons of ice cubes in rum.

4 Answers 4


When it comes to what is socially accepted in the US, ice is mostly reserved for the harsher stuff like bourbon and scotch. The ice serves a purpose of diluting the liquor, thus making it smoother on the way down. It serves a purpose for different whiskies that have harsher spice notes.

Tequila, vodka, brandy, cognac, and rum should be put in the freezer rather than mixed with ice (unless in a mixed drink). This isn't to say ice will ruin any of these drinks, but more so that they are generally considered to be smoother and thus do not need ice. While spiced rum might be harsher than the rest, it is still kept in the freezer with the other rums.

That being said, it's all personal preference. Drink it the way you like it!

  • Mostly on point, but I'd add that ice is much less common in Scotch than Bourbon. Most Scotch connoisseurs won't go further than adding a few drops of water to their whisky. But yes typically ice smooths out harsh liquors and helps it go down faster. Liquors good enough to be enjoyed on their own don't need ice.
    – Cdn_Dev
    Commented Oct 24, 2018 at 19:19
  • 1
    Good take on q, though my personal experience when occasionally adding a few drops of water to a scotch (or bourbon), liken@mcraen observes, is not so much to dilute it but rather to open the body and “tweak” the taste - I’ve only added to really smokey scotches. Re. rums, I’ve only put a single rum in the freezer -and it was great (a Diplomatico)- but I typically don’t store it there. Not worth risking blunting the flavors. I’d imagine one should first taste each bottle as is and decide if too “spicy” and is doomed for the freezer. Ultimately, I agree - it’s all personal preference.
    – Oliver
    Commented Oct 25, 2018 at 12:59

I find rum good when it is served neat, but then I am far from a connoisseur on the subject of rum. It really is an amazing drink because it’s made in so many different places and in so many different ways (white, aged, agricole, black strap, spiced, etc).

The following may be helpful in drinking rum:

Most spirits are distilled to 40 percent alcohol by volume, or 80 proof, but many rums are bottled at higher proofs. For those stiffer rums, “adding ice or a splash of water will mellow it out so the alcohol vapors don't overpower the subtle flavors,” says Vida. His rule of thumb: “I'd say 45 percent [ABV] or lower you should drink it neat, but anything above that you may enjoy more with dilution.” - The 5 Most Useful Rules for Drinking Rum


Ice in any spirit is always about personal preference. Adding ice does two things to any spirit, regardless of category:

  1. It lowers the temperature, slowing down evaporation of the ethanol, making the spirit more pleasant to smell and softer on the palate.

  2. It dilutes the spirit, again softening the effect of the ethanol on your palate. Some people will opt for a few drops of water instead of ice in order to get the dilution, but more stable (as the ice melts, the dilution increases) as well as not dropping the temperature too low for the nose to really come through.

Ultimately, this is about preference. Try a rum neat. Then try it with a few drops of water. Try it with ice. Which way did you prefer? Drink it like that.

You'll find that different rums (and different styles of rum) will suit you more with ice, with water, or neat. And those preferences will change over time. When I was tasting new rums for reviews multiple times a week, I became more tolerant of the bitterness of the alcohol and found I was drinking heavier, harsher rums neat more often. These days I'm more likely to add water or even ice on a hot day.

Drink what makes you happy (unless it's Captain Morgan).


As a rum manufacturer, this is a topic that I often hear about from customers. It usually boils down to the merits of the spirit being icy cold vs the dilution from the ice melting. A popular solution seems to be the use of whisky stones (once they have been in the freezer a while) and in the UK, you can get them from Amazon.

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