Rum cocktails and food pairings: Rediscover the versatile spirit


Rum cocktails and food pairings can be a quite lovely food combination. With a few pro tips, anyone can find the perfect food and beverage pairing.

Do you love rum cocktails? Finding the perfect food pairings for this versatile spirit can be a fun endeavor. The easiest way explore this type of food pairing is to focus on a particular cocktail style. For traditional rum cocktails, finding foods that offers the best flavor balances does take a little trial and error.

Recently, Grubhub/Seamless worked with Master Sommelier Dustin Wilson (Verve Wine) to create some exciting food and beverage pairings. Using a few simple tips, this type of pairing can really bring out both the flavor of the rum and the food.

According to Wilson, there are three factors to keep in mind with these pairings. First, the intensities must match. For example, if the rum is intense, the food needs to be just as strong. Second, the sugar content in rum offers a lovely balance to spicy foods. Lastly, a citrus forward drink, with its brightness, can cut through the richness of a dish.

With these three aspects in mind, finding the right food to go with a rum cocktail is a fun, creative experience. Here’s some suggestions from Wilson.

Rum cocktails and food pairings, photo provided by GrubHub/Seamless


Probably the most iconic rum cocktail, a fresh daiquiri is a delicious rum drink. With just three ingredients (rum, lime and simple syrup), the cocktail is a delightful sipper almost any time. Wilson recommends pairing a daiquiri with empanadas. The reason is simple, “if it grows together, it goes together.”

With a Caribbean origin, rum and Caribbean style empanadas play off each other. The brightness and acid from the lime balances the richness from the empanadas. And, add some salsa to top off the whole meal.

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  • Rum and Coke

    Probably one of most basic cocktails, a rum and Coke. While this cocktail should have the correct ratio of soda to spirit, the Coke is a sugar mixer. With that strong of a flavor, the food needs to be robust, too. Wilson suggests pairing this cocktail with pulled pork.

    The rum and Coke/pulled pork combination works because the two flavors play off each other. The pulled pork is both tangy with a slight salty component. Add a dash of spice and the cocktail balances the heat with the sugar. Cheers!

    Piña Colada

    Many people think of a Piña Colada as a tropical, vacation cocktail. Why not continue that cocktail journey with an equally exotic food, like jerk chicken. The heat and spice from the Caribbean dish are offset by the sweetness of the Piña Colada. Sunglasses and pool towels are optional.


    A mojito is a bright, fresh rum cocktail. With a dash of bubbles from some soda, this beverage is perfect any time of the year. To enhance the freshness, pair this rum cocktail with a ceviche. The citrus and herbs from the fish dish are a delightful pairing to the bright cocktail.

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    Which rum cocktails and food pairings are you excited to try? Personally, I’m ready to try all of these pairings. Looks like my weekend plans are pretty clear.