The River City never leaves those looking for the perfect spot to enjoy a nice rum-based drink disappointed. From classic mojitos to hot buttered rum, you can’t go wrong with these five spots in the greater Sacramento area.
Parking: Self-parking at City Hall Garage at 10th and I Street, valet available — $5 for 0-3 hours or $10 for 3+ hours
Bar Hours: Mon-Thurs 11:30 a.m.-11 p m.; Fri-Sat 11:30 a.m.-midnight; Sun moon–10 p.m.
Grange Restaurant and Bar has earned high praise for its use of California ingredients in its menu preparation, and that doesn’t stop at the kitchen. The bar creates “culinary” cocktails showcasing local ingredients as well. The unique spin and creativity on cocktails have produced some seasonal rum concoctions you aren’t likely to find anywhere else. Some highlights include the mango drop, made with Charbay vanilla rum, fresh-squeezed mandarin juice and a Champagne float with a handmade Chambord marshmallow garnish; ice monkey, made with raspberry infused Zaya 12 year aged rum, Cocchi Americano, lime, chamomile infused orange bitter; and the Zarzamora, made with Don Q rum, Veev Acai liquor, homemade blackberry vanilla syrup, lime, mint, Zonin Prosecco.
Hours: Mon-Fri 11 a.m.–2 a.m.; Sat-Sun 9 a.m.–2 a.m.
The Shady Lady Saloon is a popular stop for Sacramento locals, recognized for its great food and a nice selection of artisanal and seasonal cocktails. This throwback to a 1920s speakeasy does everything with class, and features an 11-page cocktail menu with its own rum section. A winter favorite is definitely the hot buttered rum, made with butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, allspice, nutmeg and dark rum.
Related: Prohibition-era Cocktails
Parking: Valet available Wednesday – Saturday
Hours: Mon-Thurs 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m. for lunch and 4:30 p.m.–9 p.m. for dinner; Fri 11 a.m.–2:30 p.m. for lunch and 4:30 p.m.–10 p.m. for dinner; Sat 4:30 p.m.–10 p.m.; closed Sundays except for events and shows at the Community Center Theatre
The Esquire Grill, part of the Paragary Restaurant Group, brings a little bit of Bermuda to Sacramento with one of its special cocktail creations. Gosling’s Rum is an award-winning brand of rum from Bermuda, with its Black Seal Rum becoming one of the only spirits to earn Platinum Medal at the World’s Spirits Championships. It has even garnered 96 points from Wine Enthusiast. A popular drink within the sailing community, the trademarked Gosling’s Dark N Stormy is available at Esquire Grill. The creation remains authentic, utilizing both Gosling’s Black Seal Rum and the restaurant’s ginger beer.
Hours: Mon-Wed: 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Thurs: 11 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Fri: 11 a.m. – Midnight; Sun: 9 a.m. – 10 p.m.
While Zocalo offers a taste of Mexico with its gigantic tequila menu, it is quite adept at rum-based drinks as well. The mojito, available in regular, blackberry, mango, or strawberry, is a favorite among regulars. But what sets Zocalo apart is its homemade eggnog. This wintertime favorite is made with Santa Teresa aged Venezuelan rum, along with milk and half and half from the local Straus Family Creamery.
Hours: Mon-Thurs: 11:30 a.m. – 10 p.m.; Fri: 11:30 a.m. – 11 p.m.; Sat: Noon – 11 p.m.; Sun: 10 a.m. – 9 p.m.
Take a drive up 80 to Roseville and check out Paul Martin’s for a higher-end selection of rums, including Charbay Vanilla, made from extracted Tahitian vanilla beans, and British Navy Pusser’s rum. Referred to as the “single malt of rums,” Pusser’s has won numerous awards for its legendary dark rum, which uses no flavoring agents and has a history dating back hundreds of years. Try a classic mojito with silver rum, muddled fresh mint, lime, and cane syrup with a soda float, or something more “novel,” like Paul Martin’s twist on the Hemingway, made with Charbay Vanilla Rum, maraschino and ruby red juice and served straight up.
Erin De Santiago is a freelance travel and food/wine writer and photographer from Sacramento, California. She is a regional membership coordinator for the International Food, Wine & Travel Writers Association (IFWTWA) and writes for a number of publications in addition to publishing her own blogs. She has traveled to over 40 countries on five continents in search of the best food and wine around the globe. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.