Cross Keys Rum Review

Cross Keys Rum

Cross Keys rum is the affordable, low-key rum that has gotten me through this pandemic, and indeed inspired this blog, so it makes sense it would be the first rum reviewed.


Cross Key Rum is a dark rum hailing from Barbados. According to the label, it’s aged five years before bottling and is distributed by United States Distilled Products out of Princeton, Minnesota. It’s a standard 80


First thing I do with a glass of anything is to sniff it. This isn’t the snobby Sideways looking for notes of oak or tinges of vanilla or whatever. Smell and taste are closely intertwined and this is a good way to get a feel of the drink before consuming it. And it hits like alcohol. It has the sharp burn of alcohol that invades your nose, and subsequently your mouth and throat on the first sip. It’s not a cheap rum, but it’s an affordable one, and it tastes like it. There’s no discernable after taste, it just kind of hangs there with that alcohol burn. It’s not unpleasant like a higher proof liquor is, it just doesn’t have much going for it.

It’s a standard 40% ABV/80 proof rum, so it’s not a weak sip by any stretch, and it won’t knock you on your feet after just one glass.


Now, that review comes from drinking it neat. I often drink this over ice, and that infusion of the cold water does bring out the sweetness in it that’s overpowered by the alcohol in drinking it straight. Over ice is my preferred method of drinking it. I would also recommend the classic Dark ‘n Stormy cocktail, 2 parts rum, 3 parts ginger beer, lime to garnish, served over ice. I skip the bitters on it, mostly because I rarely keep that on hand unless I’m entertaining. But I cook a lot so I generally always have limes, or lime juice if I just want the flavour and don’t actually have a lime on hand. I didn’t try this for a dirty Mojito, but I’d imagine it would be quite good.


Like I said up top, this is the rum that has been getting me through the pandemic. Through some sort of weird fluke, it’s been consistently marked down from it’s usual $27 to just $17 at HyVee the entirety of the pandemic lockdown. The money I’ve been saving on gas to go to work or literally anywhere at all has been put to good use on maintaining a healthy stock of Cross Keys rum. It’s by no means a great rum, and if you’re looking to go with something flavourful for cocktails and general entertaining, I can (and soon will) recommend better rums. But through it all, Cross Keys has been a steady, reliable, workhorse of a rum that has gotten the job done on many occasions. It’s kept me sane through this whole ordeal, and as long as the liquor store continues to discount it, it will continue to be my stock go-to. It’s fine, and good for a budget rum, but there will be better rums for serving out there, and I’m looking forward to bringing them to you.

Published by Brodie Mann

I've been a podcaster and radio DJ for over 15 years, and an appreciator of my favourite things for my entire life. That includes film, music, food and of course... a nice glass of rum.

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