Hurricanes, punch and more of our favorite cocktails for National Rum Day

Southern Kitchen

Note: Part of this story is excerpted from a piece by Southern Kitchen writer Todd Price. It was part of our "Spirits of the South" series. Read the rest here

National Rum Day is Aug. 16, and there's much to celebrate. The South's rum industry is growing, particularly in Louisiana. It's one of the three states, along with Florida and Texas, that produce the sugar cane at rum's heart.

When Olivia Stewart sips the agricole-style rum her family makes at Three Roll Estate distillery in Baton Rouge, it takes her back to her childhood. Agricole-style rum, made from fresh-pressed sugarcane juice and typically produced in the French West Indies, preserves the fresh, grassy flavor of sugar cane. Stewart was raised snacking on fresh sugar cane in the fields that her family has farmed for more than a century.

“I grew up in these fields. I live on these fields. I see the cane grow every day,” she said.

The United States, outside of Puerto Rico and the Virgin Islands, has never produced much rum. The oldest rum distillery in the nation, Celebration Distillery in New Orleans, only opened in 1995. Rum-making, however, is on the rise.

More drinks:From punch to Pimm's, 21 of Southern Kitchen’s best porch-sipping, warm-weather cocktails

Read this:Weekend recipes for tomatoes, zucchini and, of course, cocktails

“You do have an increasing number of distilleries that are run by people who love rum,” said Will Hoekenga, who publishes the American Rum Report newsletter.

Toast to the burgeoning American industry on National Rum Day with these Southern Kitchen-curated rum cocktail recipes:

Planter's Punch

Jeff "Beachbum" Berry of New Orleans' Latitude 29 makes his version of this tropical classic with chilled tea. Jamaican rums are dark and bold, so for a Southern-made substitute look for a flavorful rum with age.


Tablespoon white sugar

1 ounce fresh lime juice

1-1/2 ounce black tea or orange pekoe tea, chilled

2 ounces dark Jamaican rum


Dissolve sugar in lime juice at bottom of a tall glass. Add tea and rum, fill with crushed ice and swizzle. The ice will settle after swizzling, so add more to fill. Garnish (or don’t) as you see fit.

Rum Basil Swizzle

Chris Hannah won a James Beard Award as a bartender at Arnaud's French 75 Bar in New Orleans. Now he co-owns Jewel of the South, where he makes a swizzle with Three Roll rum from Baton Rouge.

Bartender and co-owner of Jewel of of the South in New Orleans pours Three Roll Estate rum, which is distilled in Baton Rouge from Louisiana grown and milled sugar cane.


1 ounce Three Roll white rum

1 ounce rum agricole

1 ounce lime

1/2 ounce agave nectar

3 basil leaves

2 ounces ginger beer


Add rums, lime, agave nectar and basil leaves to a cocktail shaker and shake with ice. Add the ginger beer to an ice-filled Collins glass and strain ingredients from cocktail shaker over the ginger beer. Garnish with basil.

A barrel of rum is sampled at Roulaison Distilling Co. in New Orleans. (Courtesy of Roulaison)

Boukman Punch

Nicholas Jarrett created this cocktail for Peychaud's, a New Orleans French Quarter bar named in honor of Antoine Peychaud, who created the bitters essential to making a Sazerac cocktail. Peychaud's family fled the Haitian revolution when he was a small child, and this punch serves as recognition of his Caribbean roots and is named for Dutty Boukman, who initiated the Haitian revolution.


1 1/2 ounce Ak Zanj 8yo Haitian Rhum, or other Jamaican rum

1/2 ounce PM Spirits Bas Armagnac VS, or other Armagnac

3/4 ounce lime juice

3 ounce cinnamon syrup (see note below)

Peychaud's bitters

Mint leaves

In other news:Our best chocolate chip cookies + lunch packing tips

More:Louisiana's history — and its sugar cane — inspire growing rum industry


Put crushed ice into a cocktail shaker then add rum, Armagnac, lime juice and cinnamon syrup. Shake briefly for 2 to 3 seconds, then dump shaker contents into double Old-Fashioned glass. "Paint" Peychaud's bitters across the surface, mound fresh crushed ice on top and garnish lavishly with mint. Serve with two straws.

To make cinnamon syrup: Crack six cinnamon sticks and add to a quart of water. Heat to just below boiling, reduce to simmer, cover and let simmer for 15 minutes. Strain cinnamon, measure the remaining liquid, and add an equal amount of white sugar. Whisk to dissolve and let cool before using.

Classic Hurricane cocktail

The fruity, rum-filled Hurricane cocktail originated at the New Orleans bar Pat O’Brien’s, allegedly as a way to sell off unwanted rum. While the mix of fruit juices certainly can disguise poor flavors in a cheap rum, we’d recommend celebrating the spirit with a high-quality, full-bodied choice, such as Appleton Estate Signature or Bacardi 8 Años. Speaking of rum, feel free to use the full four ounces in your drink, or scale it back to a more demure two ounces — or land somewhere in between. 

Although this drink is classically served in a tulip-shaped Hurricane glass, you can also serve it in a large Mason jar or Collins glass. 


Crushed ice

2 to 4 ounces full-bodied rum

2 ounces passionfruit juice

1 ounce fresh orange juice

1 ounce fresh lime juice

1/4 ounce grenadine

Orange wheel, for garnish

Maraschino cherry, for garnish


Fill a Hurricane glass with crushed ice. Add the rum, passionfruit juice, orange juice and lime juice and stir to combine. Slowly pour the grenadine into the glass so that it sinks to the bottom and forms an ombre pattern. Garnish with the orange wheel and cherry. Serve.

Mackensy Lunsford is the food and culture storyteller for USA TODAY Network's South region and the editor of Southern Kitchen.

Sign up for my newsletter here.

Reach me: mlunsford@southernkitchen.com