Rum is a wonderful—and frustrating—category. But one of the wonderful things about rum (perhaps not all, but most examples) is that they blend easily and additively. The exotic drink genre is largely built on this fact. But in addition to blending rums for a particular drink—Don the Beachcomber-style—I’ve found that blending rums can be useful to circumvent some limitations in the marketplace.
For example, I have a house Jamaican rum blend of 2/3 of Appleton’s baseline rum (they’ve been fiddling with the name, but it used to be called VX and that’s what I know it as) and 1/3 Smith & Cross. I have used this blend to excellent effect for nearly a decade in nearly any old mixed drink recipe that calls for Jamaican rum. This blend strikes a balance of richness and depth (Appleton), and funk (Smith & Cross) that no single product on the market today does. It’s also an economical blend—nothing expensive in there.
Am I approximating what Jamaican rum used to be, say, fifty years ago? Not empirically, but I have found this house blend’s performance in vintage recipes better than if I just used any current off-the-shelf product. (Alas, there’s no way to blend your way to a pre-revolution Bacardi rum!)
Blending is also a great way to recover bar space when you find yourself with a bunch of nearly-empty bottles of rum: bin them together. Use the result in punch, or just drink it. Chances are, it’ll be delicious. I call these ad hoc blends Frankenrum.