Substitute for dark rum

In this brief guide, we will address and answer the query, “What can be used as a substitute for dark rum?” and answer other related questions like “What is the best alternative to dark rum?”

What can be used as a substitute for dark rum?

There are many other alternatives to dark rum that can be used as substitutes.

A few of the commonly used substitutes are as follows:

  • Rum extract
  • Brandy
  • Cognac
  • Gin
  • Orange Juice
  • Apple Cider
  • Water

Let us now take a look at the substitutes one by one

Rum Extract

Rum extract is possibly the best alternative to dark rum. It is also the most logical and practical replacement. Rum extract can literally be used in all the food dishes where dark rum is used. Be it baking or cooking, it can be used as a direct substitute for dark rum. 

There are two types of rum extracts. Natural rum extract is fully made using rum and therefore has a very similar taste as rum. The other extract is an imitation of pure rum. It is more concentrated and only used in small quantities. Rum extracts when added to dishes in the desired quantities, bring out a very strong and savory taste.


One should know that rum is actually a kind of brandy. Brandy, therefore, is a natural alternative to dark rum. Brandy has a burnt wine-like taste. It is used in dishes such as sauces, pastry, etc. Brandy is used as a flavoring agent and sprinkled in most dishes that use alcohol as an ingredient. 

It is important to note that when opting for brandy as a substitute one should make sure it is pure brandy and not a seasoned one. Seasoned brandy will alter the taste of a dish altogether.


Cognac too is a good alternative to dark rum. This is also very similar to rum in the sense that it is also a type of brandy. Cognac is made using refined wine. Though, it has a relatively lower liquor content as compared to rum. However, when compared to dark rum, it provides a much richer and finer taste when added to dishes. It has a very robust flavoring essence. 


Gin is another good alternative to dark rum. Gin is a refined form of cocktail. The taste of gin is obtained by the juniper berries. It is used as an ingredient in a wide variety of dishes and also combined with other spices and mixes. 

When using gin in dishes, the heat involved during cooking and/or baking results in the evaporation of the alcoholic content. Therefore, gin can be freely used as an alternative to dark rum. It is very commonly used in dishes that involve meat.

Orange juice

Orange juice is a valuable source of flavonoids. It is prepared using the juice extracted from fresh oranges. It adds a tangy flavor to dishes. It greatly enhances the flavor of any dish it is added to. This is the best natural alternative to dark rum. Just like vinegar, orange juice adds flavor to baked goods, sauces, salad dressings, marinades, drinks, desserts etcetera. 

It also is a source of vitamin C. Orange juice also has a mild hint of bitterness like rum. This makes it a very good non-alcoholic substitute. It is used along with other seasonings, spice mixes, base sauces, etc. 

Apple Cider

Apple cider is one of the many food items that is made using apples. Apple cider is believed to be a very good natural alternative to dark rum when cooking or baking food items. Apple cider is a type of unfiltered apple juice. 

It can easily be used as a substitute ingredient in a variety of dishes. It is added to dishes slowly and gradually till the food gets fully cooked. This helps it mix well with the other ingredients and helps bring out a strong and dynamic taste.


When no other substitute is available or in case the alcoholic ingredient such as dark rum is only to be used in very small quantities, for the purpose of baking, cooking, deglazing, etc., water can easily be used as an alternative. 

As long as recipes call for the use of very little alcohol content, and involves ingredients that require longer cooking durations, then water is the best alternative since the small quantity of rum will get evaporated and the taste will not last. To compensate for the strong flavors of dark rum or other alcoholic substitutes, other sweetened mixes and spices should be used.

Other FAQs about Rum that you may be interested in.

Does rum go bad after opening?

Does rum extract contain alcohol?

Does rum cake have alcohol?


In this brief guide, we have addressed the query, “What can be used as a substitute for dark rum?” and answered other related questions like “What is the best alternative to dark rum?”