When I asked Southern food expert John T. Edge if he’d be willing to offer up his top bourbon picks for our September issue, he wasn’t feeling it.

“I love bourbon. I’m even in a bourbon club here in Oxford,” Edge told me. “But I love rum more and I believe it’s as Southern a spirit as bourbon.

“May I suggest 5 rums as a counterpoint?”

I wasn’t dumb enough to turn him down. When John T. speaks, you listen.


Brugal Añejo ($20-$30)

“Dry and raspy, clean and refreshing aged rum. Great for sipping in the heat of the summer with a squeeze of lime and a glug of sugar cane juice.”


Plantation Stiggins’ Fancy Pineapple Rum ($30-$40)

“Like a pre-mixed cocktail in a bottle in the best sort of way.”


Zafra Master Reserve 21 ($40-$50)

“Aged in used bourbon barrels, with an oak and vanilla backbone.”


Rhum de Père Labat 59 

“Rhum Agricole too often tastes like burned rubber. This stuff tastes like cane.”


Westerhall Estate Plantation Rum ($25-$35)

“Young rum that has the same depth of flavor as an aged expression.”