Monday, June 27, 2016

Review: The Real McCoy Rum

The Real McCoy Rum is named in honor of Bill McCoy, a rum runner in the Prohibition era. According to the story the company tells, McCoy would buy the alcohol in the Caribbean, sail it to New York City, and sell it from his vessel anchored far enough offshore to be in international waters, not subject to U.S. alcohol laws.

While other rum runners during Prohibition diluted their wares with other substances — such as turpentine, wood alcohol and prune juice — McCoy sold his completely unadulterated, and they gained the reputation of being the “real McCoy.”

Much of this story is true, according to other historical sources.

The phrase “the real McCoy” signifying that something is the genuine article, however, predates Bill McCoy by decades if not longer.

That doesn’t really matter for its significance in the story of The Real McCoy Rum, though. The company prides itself on using only blackstrap molasses and spring water in its classic Barbados-style rum — no additives.

The rum is then aged for three years, five years or twelve years before being bottled for sale.

The company was founded by filmmaker Bailey Pryor, who had the inspiration while producing a documentary film about Bill McCoy. The film went on to win five Emmy awards. The rum is award-winning too, and deservedly so.

For this review, the company sent me a bottle of the 5-Year Rum. I tried it straight and in three different types of cocktails, and was very impressed by it's smoothness and ability to play well with a variety of mixers.

The rum is smooth and flavorful. Because it’s not a spiced rum, the flavor profile is not overly complex, but it has a subtle sweetness from the molasses without being overpowering.

Dark & Stormy:
This is the rum-based version of the currently trendy Moscow Mule. Make it with an ounce to 1 ½ ounces of rum in a cold copper mug (ideally) or a glass of ice, a splash of fresh lime juice and top off with ginger beer.

The Real McCoy blended well with the spiciness of the ginger, maintaining a discernible flavor without dominating. In the past, I’ve usually used Kraken spiced rum for this drink, and its flavor can overpower the mixer if not kept in check. The Real McCoy 5 Year is a better choice for more equitable blend of flavors.

Cuba Libre:
This is a classic, rum and cola with a touch of lime. I used Pepsi sweetened with natural sugar (not high fructose corn syrup) and the result was a refreshing, easily-drinkable cocktail. This one would be a good choice for a hot summer day by the pool.

ChaChaCha: Finally, I picked a recipe provided by The Real McCoy.  The ChaChaCha gets its name from horchata, a Latin American rice drink with strong notes of cinnamon. Blending the rum, a chocolate liqueur and horchata, the result is richly sweet dessert-type cocktail. While it’s good, it’s sweet to the point of cloying, and the flavor of the rum is swallowed up by the strong chocolate and cinnamon ingredients.  I look forward to trying a few of their other cocktail recipes.

In addition to the 5-Year, which is suitable for both cocktails and drinking neat, they also make a 3-Year, a clear rum intended for cocktails, and the 12-Year Super Premium Rum, with rich flavor notes intended to be savored on their own, either neat or on the rocks.

Overall, The Real McCoy 5-Year lives up to its story. If you’re looking for a straightforward rum without additional spices, consider trying it. You won’t be disappointed.

Be aware, though, that so far the product is in stores in only 15 states. There is a locator on the website that will tell you where you can buy it locally, if you can.  If it isn't currently available to you locally, click the search icon on the Locator page without putting in a zipcode, and you'll get a list of online stores that carry The Real McCoy.


  1. The ChaChaCha sound amazing! Looks like they sell this by me have to go chek it out!

  2. Sounds like some great rum! Thanks for sharing. Have a terrific week!

  3. Thanks for the kind words, Michael!
    The Real McCoy is also available by online order in many areas.
    There are a number of recipe ideas also listed on our website at
    (Melissa, that ChaChaCha is a staff favorite! It's a low-sweet HorCHAta, CHocolate liqueur and a piece of CHile pepper -- get it?! :) We recommend shaking well with ice, then poured over additional fresh ice. )

  4. There are so many different types of rum and when I get to the liquor store, it reminds of the cereal aisle. Thanks for this knowledge. Definitely will use this next time I have a rum call.

  5. HI Michael,
    I find rum kind of strong. Others like it, though.
    Thanks for bringing your post to the Blogger's Pit Stop last week.
    Janice, Pit Stop Crew

  6. I used to drink rum when I was younger and I'm finding that now it's great for summer drinks. I love a frozen fruity cocktail when outside in the summer and this sounds like it would be perfect! The Dark and Stormy sounds right up my alley, I'm going to look for this locally, I'll let you know if I find it! Thanks for the recipes and the review!

  7. I don't drink alcohol, but thanks for sharing your review with SYC.

  8. That Chachacha looks really good! Thanks for sharing on the What's for dinner link party!

  9. I'm not a rum drinker, but thanks for sharing your recipe. #ProductReviewParty

  10. Thanks for stopping by Peace, Love. Linkup! Hope to see you tomorrow at 6 for more sharing goodness : )

  11. That looks like a wonderful drink with the addition of cinnamon and chocolate. I can difinetly see getting lots of sweet inspiration from that.

  12. Great Post rum takes time to make, especially the craft of a world class premium rum. Enjoy Barrilito in all its varieties and have a taste of history.