9 Food Pairings For Rum That Might Surprise You

Sometimes it’s crazy to imagine parts of the world without their modern-day heritage.  Imagine Italy without tomatoes or America without Mustangs, and yet not so long ago this was the case.

It was only after Columbus successfully mapped a route to the Americas in 1492 that Italians first saw tomatoes and horses sat hoove back on American soil after almost 13,000 years.

In a sense, we humans are a bit like bird poop on steroids – we help spread things around. One of those things is sugarcane.  Apart from giving us sweet sugar, not to mention the cocktail itself, the export of sugarcane and slaves to the Caribbean gave the world rumbullion.

Rum History

As much as Columbus can claim those first plantings of sugarcane in the Caribbean, (apparently from cuttings he shipped from the Canary Islands), its African slaves, working in cane plantations on the island of Barbados 200 years later, that turned molasses into an alcoholic beverage they called “Barbados Water”. From these cane fields rum rose with intent, spreading its rumbustious ways to the North American colonies and eventually conquering the seven seas, officially replacing brandy as the drink of choice on the open waters. It would go on to fuel sailors’ courage for centuries. Even the British Royal Navy rationed half a litre of the stuff to each sailor, every day, until 1970.

Rum Pairing

Today we naturally pair rum with Caribbean foods thanks to its long history with the islands, but maybe it’s time to embrace rum’s boisterous ways instead and look beyond its heritage. From its sugarcane expatriation to its love affair with sailors, rum has always been eager to explore.

So for this list, we will look at unconventional food pairings with dark premium rum that’s distilled consciously.  White rum is like the whore of the industry – always mixed up with something – so we’re going to skip that and stick with barrel-age sipping rum.


Let’s start with something a bit more traditional to the Caribbean, but not so much to the world. This spicy buttermilk chicken Jibarito combines all the delicious flavours to elevate your rum. Inspired by the popular street food, the Jibarito is the perfect balance of sweet (from the plantain) and spicy (from the jerk seasoning).

Caribbean Deep Fried Chicken Jibarito Sandwich

It doesn’t take much to convince me to eat fried chicken. Inspired by the popular street food in the Caribbean, this jibarito sandwich features extra spice to heat things up.


You can never go wrong with cheese. Aged Gouda and rum is a well-known pairing. Even a simple grilled cheese sandwich will do, but for something a bit more fun, opted for the fast food world’s latest favourite child, the loaded fries. Sloppy potato chips mixed with pulled pork, and sliced jalapenos, all covered with melted cheese. Now suck on that carb haters

BBQ Pulled Pork Loaded Cheese Fries

Crispy baked French Fries loaded with hickory-smoked pulled BBQ pork, sauteed mushrooms and onion and lots of cheese!


Rum works well with chocolate and steak, so why not combine the latter and make a threesome of the bunch. Add chillis to the mix for a bit of bite.

Chocolate Chilli Steak With Zucchini Noodles

Need dinner ideas? Spice up a steak and zucchini noodles recipe with a chilli chocolate sauce. Learn how to make chilli sauce and cook zucchini noodles here!


Avo on toast, also known as the Millennial Steak, holds up nicely to rum, but to spice things up, add chunks of Nduja.

Charcuterie and spicy pork salumi like Nduja add the perfect zing to shmodels best-loved nosh.


Over the last couple of years Polynesian poke bowls, supported by an army of tiki cocktails, conquered the international culinary world.  The “healthy” rice bowl traditionally consists of fresh raw produce, but add a few slices of smoky flame-grilled pineapple wedges and you have the perfect rum companion.


This Caribbean native and brother of the banana is an obvious choice to pair with rum, but wait until you wrap a crispy strip of bacon around those sweet little suckers.

Sweet And Spicy Bacon Wrapped Plantains

Bacon wrapped plantains with a hint of sweetness from pure maple syrup and a little spicy thanks to a kick of cayenne pepper. A great appetizer!


While Jerk chicken might be the most recommended pairing for rum, it’s not the only rooster in the pairing coop. Sticky spicy Korean Fried Chicken, with its umami flavours, adds all the tanginess to bolster your rum pairing.

Korean Fried Chicken

The Best Korean fried chicken recipe. Learn how to make super crunchy fried chicken that is coated with hugely addictive Korean sweet chili sauce! Yum!


Fire-roasted coconut with a few sprinkles of salt is the ultimate homage pairing to rum.  Rum and Coconut is like Lennon and McCartney. They’re fine on their own, albeit one is a bit flakier than the other but put them together and it’s magic.


Although the Bao Bun probably had its 5 minutes of fame, it’s still the perfect vehicle to transport pulled brisket or pork or anything pulled, to your piehole while sipping on your favourite rum.

Pulled Brisket Bao Buns

A delicious bite of spicy slow-cooked brisket wrapped in a sweet steamed bun. Every mouthful will take you to pleasureville.