How to Make Spiced Rum From Scratch Recipe

spiced rum in a glass with a decanter filled with the full batch

Liz Voltz

The spiced rum realm has opened up a bit recently, with a couple of pretty decent brands joining the insipid confections that have dominated the category for so long. Some of these are definitely worth checking out, if you're of the spices and rum orientation; but keep in mind there's always the possibility of making your own.

Making spiced rum is deliriously easy. Simply take your desired mix of spices and other ingredients, pop them in a bottle of rum for, oh, two days, then taste. Need the spice mix a bit stronger? Let it sit a day or two more, or, edit the taste profile as you go, adding more of an ingredient if you wish to push it forward.

A couple of tips: first, start slow—it's no problem to add more gusto to a spiced rum if, for example, the clove flavor isn't as strong as you'd like, but it's hell to get that flavor back out if you've added too much at the start.

Second, think about your rum; the rum you like for sipping or for mixing mojitos may not be the best candidate here. I like something with a good, aged richness to it, but not something as gamy as Smith & Cross from Jamaica or as vegetal as a rhum agricole—these are some of my favorite rums ever, but for spiced rum I like to go with something softer and more buttery.

Appleton Estate Extra is a good place to start, as is Mount Gay Eclipse or Matusalem Gran Reserva; if you want something even softer but still with a nice caramel richness, Bacardi 8 works quite well, or if you want extra vanilla notes in the rum itself, go for Angostura 1919 (though you may wish to reduce or eliminate the vanilla in the recipe below—it can easily take over).

This is a modified recipe I've used in the past for spiced rum; it's heavily influenced by one developed by Smuggler's Cove owner Martin Cate, and which appeared in the Wall Street Journal in early 2009 (I like a tad more ginger and orange in mine, and I think a teeny bit of star anise gives the finished rum a little bass-note thwang—and depending on the rum, I may cut the vanilla in half). As with so much else, this recipe is merely a suggestion; the great thing about making your own is you can push the flavors however you like.

Recipe Details

How to Make Spiced Rum From Scratch Recipe

Prep 5 mins
Cook 0 mins
Active 5 mins
Infusing Time 96 hrs
Total 96 hrs 5 mins
Serves 25 servings
Makes 1 bottle


  • One 750ml bottle decent aged rum

  • 1 vanilla bean, split lengthwise

  • 3 whole cloves

  • 1 cinnamon stick, broken into pieces

  • 5 whole allspice berries

  • 5 whole black peppercorns

  • 1/2 piece star anise

  • 1/8 teaspoon freshly-grated nutmeg

  • 3 quarter-size pieces fresh ginger

  • Two 3-inch strips fresh orange zest, white pith removed


  1. Combine everything in a large jar and seal. Keep in a cool, dark place for a couple of days, shaking it once a day to distribute the ingredients. Start tasting it after 48 hours; adjust ingredients if necessary, and once you feel it’s done (probably no longer than 4 days altogether), strain and bottle.

    a jar filled with ingredients to make spiced rum

    Liz Voltz

Special Equipment

Vegetable peeler for orange zest; fine-mesh strainer and/or cheesecloth

Nutrition Facts (per serving)
57 Calories
0g Fat
1g Carbs
0g Protein
Show Full Nutrition Label Hide Full Nutrition Label
Nutrition Facts
Servings: 25
Amount per serving
Calories 57
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 0g 0%
Saturated Fat 0g 0%
Cholesterol 0mg 0%
Sodium 1mg 0%
Total Carbohydrate 1g 0%
Dietary Fiber 0g 1%
Total Sugars 0g
Protein 0g
Vitamin C 1mg 3%
Calcium 3mg 0%
Iron 0mg 0%
Potassium 27mg 1%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)