Rum vs Whiskey: Which is Better

by John Staughton (BASc, BFA) last updated -

There has long been a debate of rum vs whiskey, and there are a number of key differences between these two types of alcohol.

Rum vs Whiskey

Although they can be similar in appearance, rum and whiskey are alcoholic beverages with notably different tastes and qualities.

How to Make?

Both go through a process of fermentation, distillation, and aging. However, rum goes through a double distillation process, whereas whiskey is aged in wooden barrels to increase its characteristic flavor. [1]

A cocktail with ice cubes and lemon in it

Rum Vs Whiskey: which is better to drink? Photo Credit: Shutterstock


Both beverages come in a range of flavors and the taste can vary according to the age, color, and extra ingredients added to each batch. [2]

  • Whiskey: Whiskey is aromatic, with a taste reminiscent of the barrels in which it has been aged.
  • Rum: Rum is rich and spicy, and sweeter than whiskey.

Alcohol Content

The alcohol content of rums and whiskeys can vary greatly, so it is important to check each brand.

  • Whiskey: Whiskey sometimes has a 40% alcoholic content, but can also be stronger, going up to 60% for very rare varieties. [3]
  • Rum: Usually, rum has an alcohol content of around 40%.

Health Benefits & Risks

In moderate amounts, both rum and whiskey can provide certain health benefits.

  • Whiskey: During the aging process, whiskey develops ellagic acid, which might help regulate the body’s glucose levels. [4]
  • Rum: When taken in small amounts, rum may have the potential to ease arthritis and muscle pain. However, there is no scientific report to back this claim.

However, risks of drinking excessive alcohol are many. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, excessive alcohol intake is responsible for about 95,000 deaths a year in the US. Excessive alcohol use includes binge drinking, heavy drinking, and any alcohol use by pregnant women or anyone younger than 21. [5]

Different countries have different legal guidelines on alcohol consumption. According to The 2015-2020 Dietary Guidelines for Americans, if alcohol is consumed, it should be done in moderation. The guidelines define moderate drinking as up to 1 drink per day for women and up to 2 drinks per day for men, which applies to adults of legal drinking age. [6]

Rum Vs Whiskey: Which is Better to Drink?

Your choice of the drink depends on your personal taste and what you are using it for, in terms of cocktails.

Whiskey is lower in calories than rum. Rum is usually mixed with other drinks, such as soda or ginger ale, while whiskey is often savored alone. Both drinks come in a large range of flavors, so it’s worth taking a sip to find one that suits your preference. Protection Status
About the Author

John Staughton is a traveling writer, editor, publisher and photographer with English and Integrative Biology degrees from the University of Illinois in Champaign-Urbana (USA). He co-founded the literary journal, Sheriff Nottingham, and now serves as the Content Director for Stain’d Arts, a non-profit based in Denver, Colorado. On a perpetual journey towards the idea of home, he uses words to educate, inspire, uplift and evolve.

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