It’s hard to beat a classic rum and coke, that sweet caramelly, herbaceous, ice-cold concoction you can pick up, hassle-free at any bar in any country around the world. Hell, the drink dates back to 1900 after the Spanish-American war, when Coca Cola was first imported to Cuba from the US. With centuries-old history and being the perfect combination between, refreshing, flavourful and easy to make, what’s an alternative to rum and coke?

The good news is, with its complex flavour profile and natural sweetness, rum pairs perfectly with a whole lot of other soft drinks besides Coca Cola,but there are a handful of other yin and yang-like combinations that are leading the race. And no, we’re not talking rum and red bull (here’s looking at you Beenie Man and Fambo).

A close contender for the top spot is rum and ginger beer, a fiery, spicy, zingy concoction that will transport you to the tropics. Add a squeeze of lime to bring a whole other zesty dimension to the drink and turn it into a classic cocktail aptly named the ‘Dark ‘N’ Stormy’.

Bringing more flavours of tropical climes, ginger ale is also a solid alternative to the classic rum and coke. While ginger beer is like a big, zingy, gingery smack in the face, ginger ale has more subtle, subdued ginger flavour, perfect for enhancing, not dominating, a delicate and delicious aged or dark rum.

Finally, those watching their weight will appreciate the fact that rum is delicious paired with nothing else than plain soda water. The least calorific of serves (except those using diet mixers), soda lets the delicate, spicy and fruity flavours of the rum take centre stage. Mix an aged golden or dark rum for the most complex soda water you’ve ever tasted.

So, next time you’re at the bar and feel the predictable phrase, ‘rum and coke please’ slipping out of your mouth, why not swallow it back and try one of these delicious, approachable alternatives instead?