10 Best Pusser’s Rum Substitutes for a Taste Bud Tropical Vacation

Quick summary: Some of the best substitutes for Pusser’s Rum will be: Myer’s Rum, Cruzan Dark Rum, Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum, Hamilton Overproof 151, and Plantation Original Dark Rum. But there are plenty of other alternatives, whether drinking it neat or making cocktails.

Popular as the signature ingredient in the Painkiller cocktail, Pusser’s Rum has a deep-rooted history in the British Virgin Islands. Produced by Pusser’s Rum Ltd. it is rich and full-bodied. Its all natural ingredient composition gives it sweetness and a slight spicy kick.

Whether you’re looking for a slightly lower-budget alternative or just can’t find this high quality rum in your local liquor store, we’ll help you pick the perfect alternative.

From cocktails to neat drinks and cooking, check out our top recommendations for Pusser’s Rum replacements below.

Types of Rum

This liquor is made from sugarcane or its by-products, including molasses or sugar cane syrup. The sugar is distilled into liquid alcohol. Although this can be done to various strengths, all rum, regardless of the type, typically has an ABV (alcohol by volume) higher than 40% (or 80 proof). 

When first distilled, all types are clear liquor. The light, silver, or white rum varieties are not aged for very long. They are filtered and then ready for your cocktail mix. These types have a sweet and subtle flavor.

Dark, black, or golden varieties start off exactly the same, however, instead of being filtered after distillation, they are aged much longer in oak or wooden barrels. This gives the liquor a darker color and a bolder flavor. Although it would become a darker color the longer it is aged, it can also be dark in color due to the addition of molasses, burnt sugar, or caramel coloring and flavoring. 

Spiced or flavored rum includes additional flavorings such as cinnamon, star anise, and other spices to add an extra layer of depth. They can be dark or light. 

What Makes Pusser’s Rum Special?

For centuries the British navy used to issue a “rum ration” to all its sailors. In 1970, this daily rum tot ration tradition ended. Nine years later, Pusser’s Rum Ltd was founded to produce the original British Royal Navy rum recipe. The traditional recipe is a blend of five rums and natural spices. This unique blend of all natural West Indian rums is distilled and aged for three years in wooden barrels. 

While most other rums have added sugar and flavoring agents to give the drink more body and smoothness, Pusser’s is completely natural. 

The Painkiller rum cocktail was trademarked by Pusser’s Rum Ltd and is generally associated with the British Virgin Islands (where it originated). The popular refreshing cocktail is known as the Pusser’s Ltd signature drink.

Painkiller Recipe

To make this delicious cocktail, blend the following in a shaker or mixing glass:

  • 2 to 4 parts rum
  • 4 parts pineapple juice
  • 1 part cream of coconut (or coconut cream)
  • 1 part orange juice

Serve on the rocks with a sprinkle of grated nutmeg and a cherry and slice of orange as garnish.

Best Pusser’s Rum Substitutes

Myer’s Rum

Myer’s is one of our top picks as a substitute since it’s generally easy to find (and that, at a good price point). This Jamaican rum also features an island flavor with a hint of spices, although slightly less pronounced. Its coconut notes make it a great choice for cocktails and mixed drinks.

Cruzan Aged Dark Rum

Originating in St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Cruzan Dark Rum is also aged in oak barrels for over two years. This is a good option if you’re looking for something that has a milder flavor. It makes for a smooth-sipping liquor and comes in at a slightly lower price point.

Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum

Also aged in oak barrels, Captain Morgan Black Spiced Rum features a bold yet smooth taste. Made with black strap rum, it has spicy notes and is the ideal choice for cocktails including pina colada and painkiller mixes. 

It’s also superb for a simple rum and coke or over ice for those who like a bold taste. Captain Morgan is a popular brand and pretty easy to find in any liquor store.

Hamilton Overproof Rum 151

Hamilton Overproof 151 is not only stronger in its alcohol content—it’s a pricier option too. However, this high proof rum makes a good substitute in tropical drinks, especially if you like a more pronounced alcohol kick. It features rich flavors of dried fruits, burnt cane, treacle, smoky wood, and brown spice.

Plantation Original Dark Rum

Although this drink is made with liquor from the Caribbean, the aging process happens in France. Plantation Original Dark Rum is a sweeter liquor with a pronounced vanilla taste. It’s great for cocktails, especially ones that make you feel like you’re on holiday.

Goslings Black Seal Rum

Another Caribbean liquor, this drink makes a great dessert beverage. It features a flavor profile of vanilla, caramel, and butterscotch. Enjoy it neat as an after-dinner drink or use it in desserts.

Navy Bay Rum

This isn’t the most broadly known brand, but if you’re looking for a drink on the rocks rather than a cocktail mixer, it’s a good replacement.

Unlike other dark rums, it has robust flavors and a cinnamon taste, yet it is not very spicy nor very sweet. It has a unique flavor profile and is very affordable.

Capitan Bucanero Rum Reserva

Capitan Bucanero is fruity, sweet, and bold with flavors of vanilla and coconut. Made in the Dominican Republic, it is aged anywhere from one to five years, depending on the blend.

If a sweet, tropical cocktail is what you’re after, this one is a good choice. 

Koloa Kaua’i Dark Rum

As you may have guessed, this American liquor is blended and aged in Hawaii. It has caramel, vanilla, and molasses sweetness with a spicy after kick. Be prepared to pay a hefty price for a little spirit of Aloha in your next cocktail.

Ron Alegro Anejo

This dark rum from the Dominican Republic is another great way to bring sweet Caribbean flavors to life in your cocktails or desserts. It is not very spicy but instead features bold flavors of vanilla and caramel.

It’s unimaginable that any type of rum expires and goes bad. But some degradation of taste might happen over time, so keep that in mind and don’t stretch the duration for too many years. 

Best Pussers Rum Cocktails (Or Grab Your Substitute)


The Hurricane is similar to a Painkiller, but not quite as strong. Served over ice, it’s a mix of three ounces Pusser’s, two ounces pineapple juice, and one ounce each of orange and lime juice.

Cinnamon Rum Iced Coffee

One hundred percent indulgent, this beverage is the perfect blend to get your caffeine fix with Caribbean flair.

Pour four ounces of brewed coffee into a glass of ice. Add one and a half ounces each of Pusser’s and cinnamon syrup. Last, add an ounce of Irish cream liqueur and give it a quick stir to blend.

Planter’s Punch

While the original recipe for Planters Punch dates back to the early 1900s, the modern version is slightly toned down. Mix 1.5 ounces Pusser’s with 2 ounces pineapple juice and a ¼ ounce grenadine. Add two ounces of club soda and enjoy over ice.

Ginger Sea Dog

This island mixture has a 3-1 ratio of ginger beer to rum. Serve the simple blend over ice in a mule mug or drinking cup. Squeeze a lemon and lime wedge over the drink, pop it into the drink, and give it a quick stir.


Is Pussers Rum good for sipping?

Pusser’s Rum is often considered a good choice for sipping but this will depend on the variety you have as well as your personal taste. Pusser’s Gunpowder Proof is especially popular as a sipper since it is a full-bodied spiced liquor, aged in charred oak bourbon barrels.

What type of rum is best for cocktails?

The type of rum that is best for cocktails are probably light or white varieties. While there is no right or wrong answer and you can use whatever you prefer, the general rule of thumb is that darker types are used for sipping or drinking straight due to their distinctive flavors.

Is Pusser’s a light or dark rum?

Pusser’s is a dark rum.

What does navy strength rum mean?

The term “navy strength” indicates that spirits are bottled at 57% ABV. It is also associated with brands where the 57% ABV rums share a mutual dark, rich flavor profile, reminiscent of those carried on board navy vessels in the 19th century.

Are dark and spiced rum the same?

No, they are not exactly the same. Spiced rum is often amber in color, yet that doesn’t necessarily qualify as a dark rum. Unlike light or dark rums, the spiced version contains added spices or flavorings, such as caramel, cinnamon, allspice, and star anise.

What is the flavor difference between light and dark rum?

Light and dark (or golden) rum both start off as a clear spirit. The difference is that light rum is filtered and bottled after distillation while dark is aged in oak or wooden barrels. This gives it a deeper flavor and darker color. Keep in mind that some dark versions are filtered to lighten the color and some light versions are artificially colored—so don’t go by color alone to determine the depth of flavor or aging, but rather check the label.

Can I use rum extract instead of the liquor for baking?

Yes, the rum extract is a good way to incorporate the flavor without the alcohol in your baked goods, ice cream, and sauces. Remember that the extract is very strong so only it in small amounts.

What is Demerara Rum?

Demerara refers to rum that originates from Guyana. Note that the Guyana rums are not made from demerara sugar but the link is the Demerara River where the Demerara Distillers Limited (DDL) facility is located.

What is Pusser’s Blue Label Rum?

While the blue label liquor is also made with the exact same pusser’s original admiralty blend, it is bottled at 40% ABV instead of 54.5%.


Pusser’s Rum is so much more than the main ingredient in the Painkiller cocktail. It has a long, interesting history, undergoes an extensive aging process, is complex, and entirely natural. It is no surprise that it is one of the most popular and quality rums on the market. 

However, not everyone enjoys the acquired taste or has the budget for a special bottle when they’re mixing up cocktails for a large group of friends.

Whether you want to try something different or just can’t find any in local liquor stores, there are plenty of other authentic Caribbean rums to use as a Pusser’s Rum substitute.

Myer’s and Captain Morgan Spiced will both give you the additional spicy notes if that’s what you’re after. If you want the sweet tropical flavors without the added spice notes, Goslings Black Seal, Capitan Bucanero, and Ron Alegro Anejo are better choices.

There is a delicious drink for every occasion and taste preference. Enjoy practicing those mixology skills and then transporting your taste buds to tropical paradise. 

*image by Kesu01/depositphotos

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