10. Havana Club (Cuba)
This one makes the cut for history as much as quality. The 7 year anejo version which is readily available is a robust and enjoyable, if not super-premium rum. A little rough, full of heat and the sherry and oak flavor. More notably, it is a claimant for the rum used in the very first Cuba Libre AKA the original rum ‘n coke. The exact origins of the cocktail are obscured by a lost rum-soaked weekend going back to 1900 (Bacardi also claims–somewhat improbably–to have been first) but it is safe to say that Havana Club has been the guest of honor at quite a few historical moments, including the Cuban adventures of Teddy Roosevelt and his Rough Riders, a few Ernest Hemingway novels, more than a few shady assignations between Meyer Lansky and his cosa nostra homies–and of course the Cuban revolution. Most at home in a classic Cuba libre with lots of lime, which balances the heat and strong flavor, HC also comes in a Maximo Extra Anejo edition which goes for some $2000/bottle. I have not tried it.