Review: Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum

There’s a dearth of spiced rums on the market, and a severe shortage of ones that are any good. (We’re fans of Kilo Kai, but it remains terribly hard to find at retail.)

Sailor Jerry is the personal recipe of Jerry Collins, a 1920s Hawaiian tattoo artist and apparently quite the rum connoisseur. Distilled in the U.S. Virgin Islands and bottled at a hot 92 proof, Sailor Jerry welcomes you with a ukulele-playing hula girl and a nose full of caramel. The “spice” component of Sailor Jerry Spiced Navy Rum is less than you’ll find in other spiced rums, but its more than made up for with that sugary, caramel flavor that makes what sounds like an overly alcoholic wine surprisingly smooth.

I tried it against Kilo Kai and it was night and day: Kilo’s citrus notes (and low proof) made it easy to sip straight, but Jerry’s caramel made it a fuller (and darker colored) spirit and perhaps a little better with Coke. Both are knockout rums, but quite different. Any rum fan — especially the spiced rum fan — should seek out a bottle. At prices like this, it practically drinks itself!

A- / $17 /


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18 Responses

  1. Allen September 3, 2008 / 10:27 am

    This is probably my favorite rum for mixing. Not the best on it’s own, but then I don’t usually drink rum on it’s own ever so that works for me.

  2. Edoc September 15, 2008 / 11:34 am

    I saw this on the shelves of my local liquor store on Saturday, and I picked it up based on your review. I’m more of an Angostura / El Dorado fan for sipping rums, but for rum & cokes this is pretty hard to beat.

  3. CherryEyed September 19, 2008 / 4:42 pm

    I love this stuff. I drink it weekly with some friends. it’s like a tradition.

    One thing I like about the bottles are the different “pin-up” girls on the inside of the label.

  4. Jeff January 19, 2009 / 12:31 am

    My go-to rum to get drunk. High in proof, cheap ($12), and mixes with just about anything. Try it with cherry Coke sometime. I swear it brings out a vanilla flavor

  5. Rae Cardwell March 27, 2009 / 5:27 am

    When the beach is too far away, and class has got me bogged down, there is nothing like a nice Sailor Jerry and Coke. Always a favorite, and a hit at any campus party! At such a reasonable price, no other rum has the quality taste of Sailor Jerry’s. I encourage you to try it with a wedge of lime next time you mix it with Coke.

  6. Josh Burdine February 21, 2010 / 11:20 pm

    I’ve tried nearly every readily available rum in my corner of the U.S.(including $50+ a bottle bathwater trash) and I must say that Coke was clearly invented for the purpose of mixing with Sailor Jerry. Even neat, chilled or on the rocks, the robust but surprisingly smooth flavor makes this my favorite spirit of any kind. Far superior to captain whats-his-name-again?

  7. Paul March 13, 2010 / 9:56 am

    Sailor Jerry is not the personal recipe of of Norman “Sailor Jerry” Collins. Is a clever marketing for William Grant & Sons Its bottled in NJ….It is harsh as hell…

  8. Anonymous September 9, 2010 / 7:09 pm

    This is not a sipping rum, this is a mixing rum, there is a difference. For mixing, it is one of the better spiced rums I have found. Usually, the normal spiced rums get lost in translation with the mix, not Sailor!

  9. Trish September 23, 2010 / 11:53 am

    I love this rum. Ive found that it mixes very well with both Sugar Free Rockstar, and Diet Cherry Pepsi. It comes off incredibly vanilla and almost too easy to drink with either.

    And at $10.99 for the 750ml, you cant beat the price per hangover ratio.

  10. Anonymous November 18, 2010 / 7:07 pm

    This is now my everyday go to rum.

  11. john November 30, 2010 / 11:33 am

    meh whats all th hype about. stick to making apparel! if rum needs to be mixed than its not that great. strong, no question – but sippable now thats questionable.

  12. Caitlin December 11, 2011 / 1:21 pm

    This made my roommate so drunk she threw up violently and put a cigarette out on herself.

  13. Andy December 30, 2011 / 4:17 am

    Bought my first bottle of Sailor back in my first year of college simply because I liked the label and it’s been my liquor of choice ever since. It’s a bit harsh, but it’s not bad to drink straight as a shot or just a pull from the bottle. As far as mixers go, I love it with Dr. Pepper. You just get Dr. Pepper with a an extra thump and a warm feeling in your belly. No nasty rubbing alcohol taste like with Captain or most of the other rums at Sailor’s price point. If you’re going to drink it with Coke, I highly recommend throwing the Sailor on ice, splash a small amount of Malibu Coconut over that, and fill the rest with Coke.

  14. claire September 23, 2012 / 2:02 am

    im sure my partner had another type of sailor jerry called vanilla and lime. i was looking at buying it last year and found a website that stocked both. now i can only find the normal sailor jerry. anyone know where i could get and if there is another one? thanks :)

  15. Todd August 23, 2014 / 11:59 pm

    If you love vanilla, this is the rum for you. It mixes well with cola, orange soda, and ginger ale. It also goes great with hot cocoa, chai, and coffee. It should fare well for baking and desserts as well. Personally, I would prefer a spicier rum, but it’s still a great rum for its price point. It’s more substantial than Admiral Nelson and I prefer it to Captain.

  16. Herbert August 27, 2014 / 4:17 am

    Last week I dreamed about a giant pan filled with bacon and there is a little kid sitting in the midst of it, eating it.

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