The Ingredient That Will Change Your Rum Cocktails Forever

Of all the liquors out there, none can transform the ambience of an evening (or afternoon) into something tropical and celebratory quite like rum in a cocktail. After all, there's a reason that Jimmy Buffett was inspired to sing that he "ran into a chum with a bottle of rum and we wound up drinking all night."

Rum was at least a portion of the inspiration for Buffett's "changes in attitude" that he noted in his tune, and rightfully so. Who can deny the uplifting effects of an umbrella-garnished daiquiri, a minty mojito, or a fruity rum punch? And while there's no health like mental health, there are plenty of other things to know about rum and its potential healing properties, from strengthening bones to curing the symptoms of the common cold (via Wide Open Eats).

Additionally, for those trying to cut carbs, rum is among the better options for imbibing. While rum may not be on a list of the best things to drink on a keto diet, it certainly qualifies as one of only a few carb-free liquor options for those who choose to keep a keto or low-carb lifestyle (via Healthline). 

It's hard to imagine a way to make a rum cocktail any better, but there's an unexpected ingredient that can do just that.

Sherry can transform your favorite rum cocktail

Sherry, a fortified wine, is perhaps best known for its many uses in cooking, from deglazing a pan to brightening soups and stews. However, with tones that tend toward earthy, it can be a novel way to add depth, balance, and character to a rum cocktail — or other liquors, for that matter.

As Chicago-based sommelier Alan Beasey told Chowhound, "Bartenders are always looking for an interesting, yet easy way to add flavor to cocktails. Sherry has a myriad of bold, unique, interesting flavors all in one bottle and is really flexible when it comes to pairing. There aren't many spirits that can't be enhanced by a little bit of sherry."

There are plenty of rums to choose from, but a solid start for a sherry-enhanced rum cocktail might be some of those that are already aged in sherry casks, like those from Diplomático, Papa's Pilar, and Doctor Bird (via Distiller).

While some sherry-infused cocktails may lean a little less tropical, like the Act of Faith (essentially a rum old-fashioned), others, like the popular Fog Cutter, are decidedly closer to the tiki-style rum cocktails that rum lovers often embrace. Regardless, adding a bit of sherry to any rum cocktail is sure to up your cocktail creation cred.