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Does rum go with chocolate?

Rum and chocolate is a classic flavor combination that has been used in recipes and cocktails for many years. The rich, smooth taste of chocolate pairs beautifully with the sweet, aromatic flavors of rum. While the answer may seem obvious to some, there are a few important things to consider when pairing rum and chocolate.

The flavors of rum

Not all rums are created equal when it comes to pairing with chocolate. Darker, aged rums tend to work best as their flavors are more complex and complement chocolate better. Light or white rums can sometimes overpower or clash with chocolate. Here are some rum styles and their compatibility with chocolate:

  • Dark rum – Aged rums like black strap rum, spiced rum, or gold rum make excellent partners for chocolate. The oak barrel aging gives them caramel, vanilla and spice flavors that meld nicely with chocolate.
  • Gold rum – Gold rums are aged rums that lend notes of vanilla, caramel, toasted oak that pair well with chocolate but are usually not as robust as darker rums.
  • Spiced rum – The blend of spices and warmth of aged rum helps spiced varieties stand up to and accentuate chocolate flavors.
  • White rum – Young, unaged white rums are better for brighter, fruitier applications and their cleaner taste can clash with chocolate’s richness.

In general, the bolder and more layered the rum, the better it will complement chocolate. Reserve the younger, lighter rums for other purposes.

The cacao percentage of chocolate

The cacao percentage of the chocolate you choose will impact how well it pairs with rum. Higher cacao content chocolates have more intense, pure chocolate flavor while lower percentages include more milk and sugar. Here’s how it compares:

  • Dark chocolate (70% cacao and above) – The robust, bittersweet flavor needs an equally rich spirit like aged, dark rum that won’t get overwhelmed.
  • Milk chocolate (30-50% cacao) – Already sweet and mellow, milk chocolate calls for a gold or light rum that won’t clash with the dairy and sugar.
  • White chocolate (no cacao) – Very sweet white chocolate pairs best with a clean, crisp white rum that adds contrast.

In general, the higher the cacao percentage, the more you’ll want a bolder, darker rum. Sweeter, milky chocolates need a more complementary supporting spirit.

Pairing rum and chocolate in cocktails

Balancing rum and chocolate flavors in cocktails requires paying attention to ratios and complementary ingredients. Here are tips for delicious rum and chocolate cocktails:

  • Use a chocolate or cocoa liqueur – Products like creme de cacao, creme de cocoa, or chocolate liqueurs like Godiva help marry the chocolate and rum flavors.
  • Include a small amount of high quality dark chocolate – Shave or melt a bit into the cocktail for pure chocolate flavor.
  • Add dairy or cream for smoothness – A small amount of cream, milk or coconut milk smooths out the rich flavors.
  • Use spices judiciously – Cinnamon, nutmeg or chili peppers can enhance chocolate-rum but shouldn’t overwhelm.
  • Sweeten carefully – Balance sweetness using sugar syrups but avoid being too heavy handed.

Here is a classic cocktail formula that hits the rum and chocolate notes perfectly:

Rum Chocolate Martini

  • 2 oz aged dark rum
  • 1 oz chocolate liqueur
  • 1 oz cream or milk
  • Shaved chocolate for garnish

The above combines robust rum, creamy dairy and pure chocolate flavors for an indulgent but balanced cocktail.

Desserts with rum and chocolate

The rich decadence of rum makes it a perfect addition to chocolate desserts. Here are some tips for successfully using rum to spike chocolate treats:

  • Add rum to the baking liquid – Replace water or milk with rum in brownies, cakes or ganache.
  • Brush rum syrup on baked goods – For rum flavor without over-soaking, make a quick rum syrup to drizzle.
  • Mix rum into frostings or whipped cream – A splash of rum amps up the flavor of chocolate frostings.
  • Soak cakes or ladyfingers in rum – For boozy, rum-infused additions to trifles or tiramisu.
  • Use rum extract if avoiding alcohol – For a family-friendly option, rum extract provides the flavor.

Start with small amounts of rum and taste as you go when adding it to chocolate desserts. It’s easy to overdo it. Aim for just enough rum to enhance the chocolate rather than take over.

Examples of chocolate and rum pairings

Here are some classic rum and chocolate flavor combinations:

Rum balls – Cocoa, rum and crushed cookies or wafer cookies rolled into truffle-like balls. The chocolate and rum balance each other nicely.

Rum-soaked chocolate cake – A dense, fudgy chocolate cake made even richer with rum syrup poured over each slice. The rum glaze acts like an chocolate amp.

Milk chocolate rum raisin bark – Sweet milk chocolate with rum-plumped raisins drizzled with white chocolate create gourmet bark with multiple layers of flavor.

Dark chocolate rum pots de crème – Tiny cups of decadent crème blended with dark chocolate and rum for an elegant, melt-in-your-mouth dessert.

Spiced rum truffles – Rolling truffle ganache in a mixture of cocoa and warming spices like cinnamon and nutmeg highlights the spice notes in the rum.

White chocolate rum banana bread – Bananas foster get baked into bread with white chocolate chips and a hit of rum for the perfect breakfast treat.

Varying the chocolate type and style of rum used lets you create vastly different flavor experiences. Don’t be afraid to experiment with artisanal chocolate bars and unique rums too.


Rum and chocolate are clearly a winning combination. Choosing the right style of rum to match the cacao percentage of your chocolate is key to creating the perfect sweet-boozy balance. Aged dark rums pair best with darker, bittersweet chocolates while light white chocolate calls for smooth, subtle rum. For cocktails, dairy, liqueurs and a deft hand with sweeteners blend the flavors beautifully. Rum’s richness enhances chocolate baked goods and desserts as well when added carefully. With so many varieties of rum and chocolate now available, the possibilities for exquisite rum and chocolate pairings are endless.