I’m no rum expert, but a couple of things I’ve learned:
- with white rum it’s hard to go wrong. If you like the Cuban / Puerto Rican flavor profile, Don Q Cristal is $24 for a handle at Total Wine.
- have an overproof Jamaican rum on hand. Smith & Cross seems to be a standard.
- probably sacrilege, but I find you can make a good Mai Tai with 3 parts cheap white rum to 1 part overproof Jamaican. (I think using any white rum at all is the sacrilegious part.) It probably helps that I use brown/demerara syrup rather than white.
- all aged rum is delicious and I have trouble recommending a specific one
- not all “dark” rum is aged (some has coloring or even flavoring added)