Want to stock your drinks cabinet with the best sugarcane spirits? Read our guide below, then check out our favourite premium rums to try. Don't forget our easy rum cocktails recipe collection for cocktail lovers.


Best sugarcane spirits to try at a glance

  • Best clairin: Saint Benevolence rum clairin, £44.99
  • Best cahaça: Yaguara organica cahaça, £33.95
  • Best rhum agricole: Damoiseau Rhum Gold, £26.99
  • Best rum blend: Mainbrace rum, £33.94

What are sugarcane spirits?

Sugarcane is the base ingredient for an array of different spirits made across the globe. Rum is the most popular and widely known, but there's a rich world of other sugarcane spirits that are well worth trying, too.

Rhum agricole

When sugarcane juice is turned into sugar, a dark, gooey, sugary substance called molasses is produced as a by-product. A lot of rum is made by fermenting and distilling molasses into a spirit. Rhum agricole, however, is made from raw sugarcane juice. Originating from the French Caribbean islands, the resulting spirit carries a lot of the flavours of the sugarcane, with a grassy, funky character.


More like this

Brazil’s national spirit, cachaça, is also made from fresh sugarcane juice, but is treated as a separate spirit to rum. Popular in its home country, it’s one of the most widely produced spirits in the world. Try it in a caipirinha.


Produced in Haiti by predominantly small rural distillers, clairin is made from raw sugar cane juice. It’s usually rustic and characterful in nature.

There are many other sugarcane spirits to explore, including aguardiente (an umbrella term for other cane spirits in South America) and arrack from Southeast Asia and India.

Best sugarcane spirits to try 2023

Saint Benevolence Rum Clairin

A bottle of Saint Benevolence Rum Clairin

Best clairin

Earthy and peppery with wasabi-like notes. Sales from each bottle directly fund charitable works in Haiti, from medical services to education.

Yaguara Organic Cachaça

A bottle of sugarcane-based spirit against a white backdrop

Best cahaça

An organic Brazilian cachaça that’s herbaceous and aromatic.

Damoiseau Rhum Gold

A bottle of Damoiseau Rhum Gold

Best rhum agricole

Aged in oak barrels for 18 months, this rhum agricole from Guadeloupe has delicate woody and spicy notes.

Mainbrace Rum

A bottle of Mainbrace Rum

Best rum blend

Mainbrace Rum is a hybrid affair, made using a blend of aged golden rums from three different stills in Guyana, and un-aged rhum agricole from Martinique. It’s the latter that really elevates the rum, lending it a grassy, earthy, subtly funky edge. Try mixed with ginger beer or in a cuba libre.


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Hannah Guinness olive magazine portrait
Hannah GuinnessSenior sub editor and drinks writer

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