We’ve already spoken about a rise in rum culture here in Kuala Lumpur. There are definitely more and more bars stocking a healthy selection of brands, from the more commercial ones like Bacardi and Havana Club, to premium labels like Diplomatico and Plantation.
But where can one try some of these rums? And what are the best rums to try? Where does one even begin one’s rum education? Well, if it’s rum you’re looking for, these few bars will have you sorted.
The Rum Bar
With over 250 labels of rum, most of which are available by the glass, this is definitely the place to go to if you want to start your rum education. The list ranges from the most popular brands like Bacardi, Havana Club, to independent bottlings of rare and artisanal rums. There are the standard staples from the Caribbean to lesser-known rums from countries like Japan, the Philippines, Thailand, Nicaragua, and even Sweden. Don’t be afraid of the extensive rum list – the bar also has different flights of rum that cater to different levels of rum drinkers, from beginners to connoisseurs.
What To Try: Where do we start? The rum flights are especially useful because the rums are selected and sorted according to specific themes, or according to the level of your rum education. If you’re willing to spend a bit more on something extra special, try El Dorado 25 Year Old from Guyana.
Location: 47 Changkat Bukit Bintang, Kuala Lumpur.
The Locker And Loft
A fun and happening bar with a cocktail list that prides itself on its localised cocktails and dining experience. The bar is also the organiser of the annual Rum Fiesta, which is doing its part in creating a rum culture in KL with guests shifts, masterclasses, and of course, lots and lots of rum.
What To Try: Diplomatico Ambassador from Venezuela. Neat. Arguably one of the best rums in town, it’s a sophisticated tipple with classy dark chocolate notes and a velvety sweetness that lingers on your mind even the day after.
Recently crowned Best Cocktail Bar In KL at the Bar Awards KL, Coley is a whimsical little bar named after legendary female bartender Ada “Coley” Coleman. While the focus is on its fun and versatile cocktail menu, it also has a decent range of rums you can try by the glass, including some really unique bottling. Oh, and look out for their regular Tiki Malaya guest shifts, where you can enjoy special cocktails created by the night’s guest bartender.
What To Try: If you’re looking for a drink that truly signifies how well rum and Malaysian flavours go together, try Ambarella & Rum. It combines rum and the refreshing sourness of an ambarella juice drink (or kedondong) for a great twist on a Malaysian kopitiam favourite. For something really out of the left field, check out Ron de Jeremy rum. Yes, it’s named after 1980s porn star Ron Jeremy and it’s actually pretty tasty.
Location: 8 Jalan Kemuja, Bangsar, Kuala Lumpur.