Top Rum Cocktails In Connecticut

May 29, 2014 8:00 AM

Photo Credit: Randy Borges/ Getty Images Entertainment

Rum is more than just a drink for pirates and partygoers; the liquor distilled from sugar cane juice, molasses or other sugar byproducts comes in many flavors and potencies, and lends itself exceptionally well to cocktails. The best of these are meant to evoke the Caribbean islands where the drink was born in the 17th century. That explains the inclusion of tropical fruits and sugar syrups or even blue Curacao – whose color is meant to mimic the sea itself – in many rum cocktails. Here are just five places to enjoy such piratical or island-themed drinks in Connecticut.

Dolce Cubano
78 Southfield Ave.
Stamford, CT 06902
(203)  817-0700

Rum Runner Punch is one of the signature cocktails at this waterfront rum bar and restaurant in Stamford. Made with Ron Zacapa Rum, cherry brandy and pineapple, this punch packs a punch. So too does the aptly named Dark and Stormy, made with lime, ginger beer and Gosling’s Black Rum. Dolce Cubano carries a wide selection of rums, and while its extensive cocktail menu is not entirely rum-based, it is those concoctions of which the restaurant is most proud. It is also one of the few bars that serves a Pina Colada chilled, not frozen, which as the bartender explains is the “original” recipe from a time when freezing a drink in the islands was not possible. While many patrons are drawn by the pleasures of the bar, they stay for the restaurant, where there are full meals or small plates of both simple and elegant Cuban cuisine.

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Zafra Cuban Restaurant and Rum Bar
259 Orange St.
New Haven, CT 06510
(203) 859-5342

Release the Kraken! “If you dare!” is both a taunt and a warning on the cocktail menu at Zafra, a Cuban restaurant and rum bar in New Haven. The 96-proof Kraken Spiced Rum used in this stormy brew is one of the 200 rums Zafra stocks, from the likes of Angostura and Blackbeard to Whaler’s Dark and its own Zafra Master Reserve. The bartenders not only know what makes each of these rums different, but also know which rums blend best with other ingredients. For the Papa Hemingway Daiquiri, for example, they pair Cruzan Light Rum with grapefruit juice and serve it “just the way he liked it!” They also suggest the Cruzan for the house Classic Mojito, and believe that a Cuba Libre rum and Coke is best made with Blackbeard Spiced Rum. Zafra is a very popular restaurant as well as bar, and many of its Cuban dishes are “rum-inspired.”

220 College St.
New Haven, CT 06510
(203) 772-4002–home.html

White rum, sugar cane juice, lime juice, sparkling water and mint come together at Pacifico to form the perfect mojito. Owner and Chef Rafael Palomino, however, has allowed his bartenders to be as creative with that classic rum cocktail as he is with the Nuevo-Latino dishes that come from his amazing kitchen. The Mojito de Maracuya, for example, uses passion fruit and sugar, while the Mojito de Mango relies on the pulp of that fruit for its taste and texture. Other mojitos are made with blackberry, strawberry or pineapple rums, juices or fruits and the sinfully extravagant dessert in a glass Mojito de Coco is made with Malibu Coconut Rum and Coco Lopez.

Dish Bar and Grill
900 Main St.
Hartford, CT 06103
(860) 249-3474

The Pomjito made with Don Q Limon is but one of the many rum-based cocktails served at this elegant, classy and relaxing bar in Connecticut’s capital city. Dish believes that barrel aging is as important in rum and tequila as it is with bourbon or wine, and its cocktail menu reflects that preference. Dish is known for its innovative cocktails and extensive use of fruit-infused liquors, many of which (like the habanera-infused vodka) are created on the premises. While Dish is a wonderful place for a before- or after-theater drinks, it also has a fine raw bar and formal restaurant that prides itself on farm-to-table offerings, and promises that it uses local sources whenever possible.

37 Raymond Road
West Hartford, CT 06170
(860) 756-5590

The Sparkling Mojito is also billed as the house “signature martini” at Cuvee, a “food, wine and champagne room” in West Hartford. The cocktail is made with simple syrup, lime and Bacardi Limon Rum, and then topped off with sparkling wine. Mount Gay Rum is used in another house favorite, the Tropical Champagne cocktail, which combines the rum with Malibu Blue Curacao, fruit juices and sparkling wine. Cuvee has many such unique cocktails, many of them variations on traditional drinks to which wine or champagne is added. The drinks menu is lengthy, extensive and creative, and the lounge atmosphere is friendly and upbeat with intimate corners set aside where patrons can enjoy small plates of gourmet food with their cocktail, shots, wine or champagne.

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Mark G. McLaughlin is a professional and prolific writer with a proven publishing record in a wide variety of fields. An historian, novelist, freelance journalist, ghost-writer, book reviewer, magazine editor, web and magazine columnist, Mark has more than 30 years of experience. His work can be found at

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