Although rum is produced in every country that grows sugarcane, the best cane spirits come from rum’s birthplace, the Caribbean. Just a few years ago, almost all Caribbean rum exported to the U.S. was used for mixing in cocktails and punches; the idea of rum as a sipping spirit was almost completely foreign to Americans. Now the tide has turned, and connoisseurs of scotch, bourbon, and tequila are shifting their attentions to rum. Rum’s incredible diversity provides a spectrum of flavor profiles to explore, both in the aged sipping and the younger mixing categories. Here are my picks for both.

See tasting notes for 12 bottles of rum in the gallery »