This Black and White Rum Cocktail is so creamy and delicious! With a black cocoa infusion on top, this visually striking drink is as tasty as it is beautiful. The rum and cream go perfectly together, and the black cocoa brings a bitterness to contrast with the sweetness of the cream and simple syrup.
I was inspired to make this cocktail for Halloween, although it would be great any time of year. (It would look amazing in a skull glass, though!)
Here are the ingredients you'll need to have to make this cocktail:
- Black cocoa powder (specialty ingredient - see Substitutions section if you don't have it)
- Dark rum or vodka
- White rum
- Coconut flavored rum
- Simple syrup
- Heavy cream
A Note About Black Rum
I don't list "black" rum as one of the ingredients because although some rums look super dark, the producers actually use additives and colorings to get them that way. This can be good when you want a deep molasses flavor, but not when you're looking to highlight the flavor of the rum itself. Take a peek at this article by the Cocktail Wonk for a deep dive into these black rums: Black Rum: Setting the Record Straight.
If you don't have one of the ingredients on hand, here are some ways you can substitute:
- Black Cocoa Powder - This has some cocoa flavor, but it's mostly a natural way to color food black. The main drawback is that it does leave a sediment in the drink, like any cocoa does. (That is what causes the little flecks you see falling down in the finished drink.) If you don't have black cocoa, there are a couple of other options:
- Espresso Powder - this will be a tiny bit more brown instead of black, but is much easier to find in stores. You'll also probably want to filter this out before serving.
- Activated Charcoal - this works well, but you need to be careful not to serve activated charcoal to anyone who regularly takes medications, as it affects the body's absorption of medications. More info on activated charcoal at WebMD.
- Cuttlefish Ink - this is another specialty ingredient and a natural way to color food. It has a slightly salty taste. Be careful not to serve it to anyone with a shellfish allergy.
- Black food coloring - this should work well (but will likely lead to a dark colored mouth!) Don't use too much or it will have an off taste.
- Dark or Light Rum - You can substitute in whiskey or vodka for these spirits.
- Coconut Rum - If you don't have this, you can sub in plain white rum, and add a drop of coconut extract if you have it.
- Cream - You can substitute in half and half or a non-dairy creamer for the cream.
To make this drink, you'll need a cocktail shaker, a cocktail strainer, a jigger or measuring cup, and a serving glass. You'll also most likely want to use a fine mesh strainer to strain out some of the black cocoa solids.
The glass I used in these photos is the JoyJolt Aurora glass, which is an old fashioned-style glass.
In order to get the black color for the top layer of this drink, make an infusion using the dark rum and black cocoa. To do this, simply mix the two together and let the mixture sit in an airtight container for a while. It could sit for a couple of hours or a couple of days and be OK, but the longer it sits, the more of the flavor from the cocoa will be drawn in to the liquid.
When you're ready to make the drink, you may want to take the time to strain out some of the black cocoa. Just use your fine mesh strainer and possibly add a cheesecloth to the strainer as well. The more of the cocoa that's left in the liquid, the more sediment you'll see falling to the bottom of the glass after you add the float. I kind of like the look, but definitely strain out as much as you can if you're after a cleaner look.
When the infusion is ready, mix the white rum, coconut rum, simple syrup, and cream in a cocktail shaker. Shake well with ice, about 15-20 times.
Add ice to your serving glass and strain the cream mixture into the glass. Then, use the back of a bar spoon to carefully and slowly pour the black cocoa-infused rum over the top of the drink. Serve immediately.
Hint: the longer this one sits, the browner the drink looks on top as the ice melts and the cocoa falls to the bottom. So, definitely serve it up as soon as you possibly can!
Here are a few ways to change up this drink:
- Coffee - either mix some espresso powder with the black cocoa infusion, or just stir in a bar spoon of Kahlua. The float won't work as well with the Kahlua, though, since it has a lot of sugar.
- Black and Pink - substitute some grenadine syrup for part of the simple syrup for a pink color.
- Bailey's - add some Bailey's to the cream part for more of a Mudslide kind of flavor.
- Oreo - Oreo cookies actually have black cocoa in them! To get a full-on Oreo flavor, add some Oreo filling to the cream and mix well before adding it to the cocktail. You can also infuse the dark rum with the cookie part instead of using straight black cocoa.
You can serve this with or without ice, but the ice does help keep the black layer towards the top of the drink.
Black and White Rum Cocktail
- Cocktail serving glass
- Mix together the black cocoa powder and the dark rum. Let sit in an airtight container for at least an hour or a couple of days.1 bar spoon black cocoa powder, ¾ ounce dark rum
- When you're ready, strain out some of the black cocoa powder by passing the mixture through a fine mesh strainer and/or cheesecloth.
- Add the simple syrup, white rum, coconut rum, and heavy cream to a cocktail shaker.1¼ ounce simple syrup, 1 ounce white rum, ½ ounce coconut rum, 1 ounce heavy cream
- Add ice to the shaker and shake well, about 15-20 times.
- Strain over fresh ice into your serving glass.
- Carefully pour the black cocoa rum infusion over top of the drink by slowly pouring it onto the back of a bar spoon, so it will float at the top of the drink.
- Serve immediately.