Bumbo Cocktail Recipe

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Bumbo Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


Bumbo, also known as Bombo or Bumboo, is a cocktail that dates back to the 17th century. It was popular among pirates and sailors in the Caribbean. The drink was used as a way to make the harsh taste of rum more palatable by adding sugar, water, and spices.

  • Originated in the Caribbean
  • Popular among pirates and sailors
  • Used to make rum more palatable

How Bumbo Tastes?

Bumbo has a sweet and spicy taste, with a hint of warmth from the rum. It is smooth and rich, with a velvety texture and a lingering finish.

Interesting facts about Bumbo

  • Bumbo was often used as a form of currency in the pirate world
  • The drink was sometimes used for medicinal purposes, as the spices were believed to have healing properties
  • Bumbo is mentioned in the book 'Treasure Island' by Robert Louis Stevenson


Dark Rum

Dark Rum is the soul of the Bumbo, providing a warm, rich base. Opt for 2 oz; less would make it weak, more could be overpowering. Without it, you'd lose the cocktail's heart!

Alex Green


1 oz of Water is added to soften the intense sweetness and potency of the rum. Too little and the drink is too strong, but too much and you'll dilute its character.

Emma Rose

Brown Sugar

1 tbsp of Brown Sugar gives the cocktail its signature sweetness. It's a balancing act – too much and it's like drinking syrup, too little it's too harsh. Sugar also complements the rum's inherent molasses tones.

Mary Mitkina


A pinch for that kick! Nutmeg adds depth and a woody note, but don't go overboard or it'll turn into a spice bomb. A missing nutmeg is like an ocean without a beach; incomplete.

Alex Green


Cinnamon adds warmth and a hint of spiciness. Just a pinch - it's not a cinnamon challenge. It's a bright spark in the night. Too little, and you lose a layer of complexity.

Emma Rose


Allspice, our final pinch, brings all sorts of flavors; think Jamaica in a glass. Without it, you'd miss the full spectrum of what Bumbo can offer.

Mary Mitkina

Recipe. How to make Bumbo Drink

  1. In a mixing glass, combine the dark rum, water, and brown sugar
  2. Stir until the sugar is dissolved
  3. Add the nutmeg, cinnamon, and allspice
  4. Stir to combine
  5. Pour the mixture into a rocks glass filled with ice
  6. Garnish with a cinnamon stick and a sprinkle of nutmeg

Pro Tips

  • Use high-quality dark rum for the best flavor.
  • Dissolve the sugar completely before adding the spices.
  • Freshly ground spices will give a more intense flavor.

Perfect Pairings


  • Grilled meats: The smoky flavours of grilled meats complement the spiciness of the Bumbo.
  • Fruit desserts: The sweetness of desserts, particularly those with cinnamon or nutmeg, echo the spices in the cocktail.
  • Cheese platter: A selection of aged cheeses balances the sweetness of the Bumbo.


  • Coffee: Serve alongside a strong black coffee to counteract the sweetness and spice.
  • Aged port: For a luxurious after-dinner pairing, match the Bumbo with a small glass of port.

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What you could change in Bumbo

  • Dark rum: Can be replaced with bourbon or brandy.
  • Brown sugar: Can be substituted with honey or maple syrup.
  • Spices: Feel free to experiment with other warm spices like cloves or cardamom.

Explore all drinks starting with B here

And of course - twists🍹

Bumbo with a Citrus Twist

  • Replace water with fresh lime juice for a zesty version. Add a lime wheel as garnish for extra flair!

Bumbo Royale

  • Top the Bumbo with a splash of champagne for a fizzy kick. It makes it more celebratory and adds a luxurious twist.

Bumbo 'N Cream

  • Add a splash of coconut cream for a tropical, creamier rendition. It’ll be like taking a quick trip to the islands with each sip!

In case you forgot basics how to make Bumbo

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Bumbo

What is the best type of water to use?

As the water is a crucial part of this cocktail recipe, it's advisable to use natural spring water or filtered water for better taste and purity.

Can I replace the dark rum with a light rum?

Yes, you can substitute the dark rum with a light rum, but it may alter the original flavor and richness of the cocktail.

How do I know which spices to use if I want to experiment?

As per your preference, you can choose different warm spices. Remember, the key is to complement and enhance the sugar and rum mixture, not overpower it. Ginger, star anise, and vanilla are other enjoyable options to consider.

Is there a non-alcoholic version of the Bumbo cocktail?

Yes, you can make a non-alcoholic Bumbo cocktail by simply using a dark rum-flavored syrup or essence instead of actual rum.

Why is Bumbo considered a pirate drink?

As per historical accounts, Bumbo was a favored drink among pirates and sailors. Its ingredients were typically available on board, and the cocktail allowed crews to make the harsh rum taste more enjoyable.

Is the Bumbo cocktail traditionally enjoyed during certain seasons or times of day?

There's no strict traditional time to enjoy a Bumbo. However, thanks to its warm spices and rich, comforting flavors, it is particularly pleasant during colder seasons like fall and winter.

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