What Goes Well With Rum?

Discover what beverages and foods pair best with rum.
Bottle of rum on the beach with some glasses and ice nearby.
Bottle of Rum on the Beach with Some Glasses, Ice Nearby: A Relaxing Beach Escape in a Bottle.

Introduction to Rum and its Versatility

Rum, a beloved spirit with a rich and storied history, has captured the hearts and palates of people all over the world. From its humble origins in the Caribbean to its global popularity, rum has become a go-to choice for mixing cocktails and enjoying on its own. With its diverse range of flavors and styles, rum offers a versatility that few other spirits can match.

Definition and Brief History of Rum

Rum, derived from sugarcane or molasses, is a distilled alcoholic beverage that has been enjoyed for centuries. Its exact origins are debated, but it is widely believed that rum was first produced in the Caribbean during the 17th century. As sugarcane plantations flourished, the byproduct of sugarcane juice, known as molasses, became the base for rum production.

Rum quickly became a staple in the region, with each Caribbean island developing its unique style and production methods. From the light and crisp rums of Puerto Rico to the rich and full-bodied rums of Jamaica, the diversity in rum production is influenced by factors such as climate, terroir, and distillation techniques.

Overview of Different Types of Rum

To truly appreciate the versatility of rum, one must understand the different types available. There are several classifications of rum, each offering distinct characteristics and flavors.

  1. White or Light Rum: This type of rum is often clear and has a milder flavor profile. It is usually aged for a short period and is commonly used in cocktails.
  2. Gold or Amber Rum: With a slightly richer flavor and color, gold or amber rum is aged for a longer period in oak barrels. It strikes a balance between the lightness of white rum and the depth of dark rum.
  3. Dark Rum: Dark rum is aged for a significant period, often in charred oak barrels, resulting in a bold and robust flavor profile. It boasts notes of caramel, molasses, and spices.
  4. Spiced Rum: Infused with a variety of spices, such as cinnamon, nutmeg, and vanilla, spiced rum adds a warming and aromatic element to cocktails.
  5. Aged or Premium Rum: Aged rum undergoes an extended aging process, sometimes for years, allowing for the development of complex flavors and aromas. These rums are often sipped neat or enjoyed on the rocks.

Exploring the Popularity of Rum in Cocktails

One of the reasons rum has gained such immense popularity is its versatility in cocktail creation. From classic concoctions to innovative modern mixes, rum is a key ingredient in countless beloved cocktails. Its ability to blend seamlessly with a wide range of mixers, fruits, and flavors makes it a bartender’s dream.

Rum serves as the backbone of tropical favorites like the Mojito, Piña Colada, and Daiquiri. The freshness of mint, the tropical sweetness of pineapple, and the zing of lime are perfectly complemented by the distinct flavors of rum. These cocktails evoke images of white sandy beaches, swaying palm trees, and the refreshing sea breeze.

Furthermore, rum is also a prominent player in the tiki cocktail culture. The exotic combination of rum, citrus juices, and tropical syrups creates vibrant and layered libations that transport you to a Polynesian paradise. From the classic Mai Tai to the mysterious Zombie, tiki-inspired rum cocktails are a celebration of flavor and escapism.

In the next sections of this comprehensive blog post, we will delve deeper into the world of rum and explore the perfect pairings for this versatile spirit. We will discover the ideal mixers and ingredients that complement rum, explore the art of pairing rum with various foods, and learn about rum cocktails from around the world. So grab your favorite rum, sit back, and embark on this exciting journey into the realm of rum and its perfect companions.

Pairing Rum with Various Mixers and Ingredients

Rum, with its versatile and diverse flavor profiles, lends itself beautifully to a wide range of mixers and ingredients. Whether you prefer a refreshing and bubbly cocktail, a fruity and tropical concoction, or a creamy and indulgent drink, there is a perfect pairing for every taste. Let’s explore some of the classic mixers, fruit juices, and creamy options that go well with rum.

Classic Mixers for Rum Cocktails

  1. Soda Water and Rum: The simplicity of combining soda water with rum allows the distinctive flavors of the spirit to shine. The effervescence of soda water adds a refreshing element, making it an ideal choice for those seeking a lighter and more crisp cocktail experience.
  2. Ginger Beer and Rum: The marriage of ginger beer and rum creates a dynamic flavor profile that is both spicy and sweet. This combination is famously known for its role in the classic Dark and Stormy cocktail, where the boldness of dark rum is balanced by the heat of ginger beer.
  3. Cola and Rum: The classic pairing of cola and rum is a timeless combination that conjures images of laid-back evenings and casual gatherings. The caramel notes of cola mingle harmoniously with the smoothness of rum, resulting in a satisfying and easy-to-enjoy cocktail.
  4. Tonic Water and Rum: While commonly associated with gin, tonic water can also be a delightful mixer for rum. Its bitter and quinine flavors provide a unique contrast to the sweetness of rum, giving rise to intriguing and complex taste profiles.

Fruit Juices and Rum Combinations

  1. Orange Juice and Rum: The bright and citrusy notes of orange juice pair beautifully with rum, creating a vibrant and refreshing cocktail. The acidity of the juice cuts through the richness of rum, making it an excellent choice for brunch or daytime gatherings.
  2. Pineapple Juice and Rum: The tropical sweetness of pineapple juice complements the tropical flavors found in many rum varieties. This delightful combination is the foundation for iconic cocktails such as the Piña Colada, transporting you to a sun-drenched beach with each sip.
  3. Cranberry Juice and Rum: The tartness of cranberry juice adds a tangy twist to rum cocktails. This combination strikes a balance between sweet and sour, creating a refreshing and well-rounded drink that is perfect for any occasion.
  4. Mango Juice and Rum: Bursting with tropical flavors, mango juice pairs exceptionally well with rum. The luscious and exotic taste of mango enhances the fruity undertones of rum, resulting in a cocktail that is both vibrant and satisfying.
  5. Grapefruit Juice and Rum: The bittersweet and tangy profile of grapefruit juice adds a refreshing kick to rum-based cocktails. This combination is particularly popular in tropical and citrus-forward drinks, showcasing the versatility of rum in embracing a range of flavors.

Exploring Creamy and Dairy-based Mixers for Rum

  1. Coconut Cream and Rum: The rich and creamy texture of coconut cream blends harmoniously with rum, creating a tropical and indulgent treat. This combination is often featured in cocktails like the Piña Colada, where the creaminess of coconut enhances the smoothness of rum.
  2. Milk and Rum: While not as commonly used as other mixers, milk can add a velvety texture and subtle sweetness to rum cocktails. This combination is especially fitting for dessert-inspired drinks, such as the popular Rumchata, where the creamy qualities of milk elevate the flavors of rum.
  3. Coffee and Rum: For lovers of both coffee and rum, the marriage of these two flavors is a match made in cocktail heaven. The rich and robust notes of coffee harmonize with the complexity of rum, resulting in a drink that is both energizing and comforting.
  4. Eggnog and Rum: A classic holiday indulgence, the combination of rum and eggnog is a festive treat that warms both the body and soul. The creamy and spiced flavors of eggnog create a delightful contrast to the smoothness of rum, making it a beloved choice during the winter season.
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Pairing rum with various mixers and ingredients opens up a world of possibilities for creating unique and delicious cocktails. The next section will take us on a journey to explore the perfect pairings of rum with different types of foods, further enhancing the enjoyment of this versatile spirit. .

Perfect Pairings: Rum and Food

While rum is often associated with cocktails, its versatility extends far beyond the bar. The complex flavors and aromatic profiles of different rum varieties can elevate a wide range of dishes, from appetizers to main courses and even desserts. Whether you’re hosting a dinner party or simply looking to enhance your culinary experiences, exploring the perfect pairings of rum and food is a delightful adventure.

Appetizers and Small Bites

  1. Ceviche and Rum: The light and citrusy flavors of ceviche, a dish featuring marinated raw seafood, harmonize beautifully with the crispness of rum. The acidity of the ceviche cuts through the richness of rum, creating a refreshing and balanced combination.
  2. Empanadas and Rum: The savory and flaky pastry of empanadas pairs wonderfully with the depth of rum. Whether filled with meat, cheese, or vegetables, the richness of empanadas is complemented by the complex flavors found in aged or spiced rums.
  3. Fried Plantains and Rum: The sweet and caramelized notes of fried plantains find a perfect companion in the richness of rum. Whether enjoyed as a side dish or transformed into crispy plantain chips, the combination of fried plantains and rum offers a delightful contrast of textures and flavors.
  4. Spicy Wings and Rum: The heat and spice of buffalo or barbecue wings find balance and refreshment when paired with rum. The sweetness of the spirit helps to cool the palate, while the depth of flavors in rum adds complexity to the savory and spicy profile of the wings.

Main Courses

  1. Grilled Seafood and Rum: The smoky and charred flavors of grilled seafood, such as shrimp, scallops, or fish, are enhanced by the nuanced flavors of rum. The tropical undertones found in many rum varieties complement the natural sweetness of seafood, creating a harmonious and flavorful combination.
  2. Jerk Chicken and Rum: Jamaica’s famous jerk chicken, with its bold and spicy flavors, is a natural companion to rum. The aromatic spices and heat of jerk seasoning find balance in the smoothness of rum, creating a delightful contrast of flavors that dance on the palate.
  3. Pork Tenderloin and Rum: The tender and succulent nature of pork tenderloin pairs beautifully with the richness and depth of rum. Whether marinated in a rum-infused sauce or glazed with a rum reduction, the combination of pork and rum creates a luxurious and indulgent dining experience.
  4. Rum-Glazed Ham: A classic centerpiece for festive occasions, a rum-glazed ham delivers a symphony of flavors. The sweetness of the rum glaze caramelizes beautifully on the ham, creating a rich and flavorful crust that complements the succulent meat.

Desserts and Sweet Treats

  1. Rum Cake and Rum: A dessert that celebrates the essence of rum, a rum cake is a moist and decadent treat that showcases the spirit’s flavors. The rum-infused cake is often topped with a rich buttery glaze, and each bite is a delightful explosion of rum-infused goodness.
  2. Pineapple Upside-Down Cake with Rum: The tropical combination of pineapple and rum comes together in this classic dessert. The sweetness of the pineapple caramelizes as it bakes, and the addition of rum adds depth and complexity to the cake, creating a delightful and indulgent treat.
  3. Rum-Infused Chocolate Truffles: The marriage of rum and chocolate is a match made in heaven. The depth and richness of rum complement the velvety smoothness of chocolate, resulting in decadent truffles that melt in your mouth and leave a lingering hint of rum.
  4. Rum-Soaked Fruit Salad: Elevate a simple fruit salad by infusing it with the flavors of rum. Soaking fresh fruits like berries, pineapple, and mango in rum adds a delightful boozy twist, creating a refreshing and delectable dessert option.

Pairing rum with various foods opens up a world of culinary possibilities, adding depth and complexity to your dining experiences. In the next section, we will embark on a journey to explore rum cocktails from around the world, discovering the unique flavors and cultural influences that make them truly special.

Exploring Rum Cocktails from Around the World

As rum gained popularity across the globe, different regions put their own unique spin on rum cocktails, resulting in a diverse array of flavors and drinking experiences. From the vibrant Caribbean to the exotic tiki bars of the South Pacific, the world of rum cocktails is a fascinating tapestry of cultural influences and creative mixology. Let’s embark on a journey to explore some iconic rum cocktails from around the world.

Caribbean Rum Cocktails

  1. Mojito: Originating in Cuba, the Mojito has become a beloved classic that showcases the fresh and citrusy notes of rum. This refreshing cocktail combines rum, muddled mint leaves, lime juice, sugar, and soda water, creating a vibrant and invigorating drink that is perfect for hot summer days.
  2. Piña Colada: Transporting you to the sandy beaches of Puerto Rico, the Piña Colada is a tropical delight that combines rum, pineapple juice, coconut cream, and crushed ice. Blended to perfection, this creamy and fruity cocktail is a vacation in a glass.
  3. Rum Punch: A Caribbean staple, rum punch variations can be found throughout the region. Combining rum with a medley of fruit juices, such as orange, pineapple, and grenadine, rum punch is a vibrant and fruity cocktail that captures the essence of the Caribbean.
  4. Daiquiri: The Daiquiri, hailing from Cuba, is a timeless classic that showcases the simplicity and elegance of rum. Made with rum, lime juice, and a touch of sugar, this cocktail is a refreshing and tangy drink that lets the flavors of the rum shine through.

Tiki-Inspired Rum Cocktails

  1. Mai Tai: Born in California but inspired by Polynesian flavors, the Mai Tai is a tropical masterpiece that combines rum, lime juice, orange curaçao, orgeat syrup, and a dash of grenadine. This complex and balanced cocktail is a symphony of flavors that takes you on a journey to a faraway paradise.
  2. Zombie: Created by the legendary tiki cocktail pioneer Donn Beach, the Zombie is a potent concoction that packs a punch. This cocktail typically features multiple types of rum, fruit juices, and various secret ingredients, resulting in a complex and mysterious drink that embodies the spirit of tiki culture.
  3. Painkiller: Originating from the British Virgin Islands, the Painkiller is a creamy and tropical delight that combines rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, and coconut cream. This luscious cocktail, often garnished with grated nutmeg, is synonymous with relaxation and tropical vibes.
  4. Scorpion Bowl: A communal cocktail made for sharing, the Scorpion Bowl is a centerpiece of tiki gatherings. This large-format drink typically combines multiple types of rum, fruit juices, and a touch of almond syrup. Served in a decorative bowl with multiple straws, the Scorpion Bowl is a fun and festive way to enjoy rum with friends.
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Rum Cocktails with a Twist

  1. Dark and Stormy: A classic highball cocktail, the Dark and Stormy originated in Bermuda and features dark rum and ginger beer. The deep flavors of dark rum are beautifully complemented by the spiciness of ginger beer, resulting in a bold and refreshing drink.
  2. Rum Old Fashioned: A rum-based twist on the classic Old Fashioned cocktail, this drink swaps whiskey for rum while maintaining the essence of the original. Made with rum, sugar, bitters, and a twist of citrus, the Rum Old Fashioned is a sophisticated and flavorful option for rum enthusiasts.
  3. Rum Sour: Combining the tanginess of citrus with the sweetness of rum, the Rum Sour is a refreshing and well-balanced cocktail. Made with rum, lemon or lime juice, sugar, and optionally topped with a frothy egg white, this cocktail offers a delightful combination of flavors and textures.
  4. Rum Martinez: Inspired by the classic Martini, the Rum Martinez substitutes gin for rum, resulting in a unique and flavorful twist. Made with rum, sweet vermouth, maraschino liqueur, and aromatic bitters, the Rum Martinez is a sophisticated cocktail that showcases the versatility of rum in a refined setting.

The world of rum cocktails is truly diverse and offers something for every palate. Whether you prefer the tropical sweetness of Caribbean classics, the complex flavors of tiki-inspired drinks, or the elegance of rum twists on traditional cocktails, there is a rum cocktail waiting to be discovered and savored.

Rum Tasting and Pairing Tips

To truly appreciate the nuances and flavors of rum, it’s important to approach it with a discerning palate and a sense of exploration. Just like wine tasting, rum tasting allows you to uncover the unique characteristics of different varieties and appreciate their complexities. In addition, knowing how to pair rum with complementary flavors can enhance your overall drinking experience. Let’s delve into some rum tasting and pairing tips to help you make the most of your rum enjoyment.

Understanding the Flavor Profiles of Different Rums

Rum, with its diverse range of styles and production methods, offers a wide spectrum of flavors and aromas. From light and crisp to rich and full-bodied, each rum variety has its unique characteristics. When tasting rum, it’s helpful to consider the following aspects:

  1. Color: The color of rum can provide some initial clues about its flavor profile. Light or white rums tend to be milder and have a cleaner taste, while dark rums often exhibit richer and more complex flavors.
  2. Aroma: Take a moment to swirl the rum in your glass and inhale its bouquet. Pay attention to the aromas that emerge, such as tropical fruits, spices, vanilla, caramel, or oak. These scents can give you insights into the flavors that await.
  3. Flavor: Take a small sip and allow the rum to coat your palate. Pay attention to the flavors that unfold, including sweetness, acidity, bitterness, and any distinctive notes that emerge. Some rums may have hints of chocolate, coffee, citrus, or even tobacco.
  4. Finish: The finish refers to the lingering flavors that remain after swallowing. Does the rum leave a smooth and mellow aftertaste, or does it have a more pronounced and lingering presence? The finish can vary from short and clean to long and complex.

By paying attention to these aspects, you can develop a discerning palate and better appreciate the intricacies of different rum varieties.

Proper Glassware for Enjoying Rum

Choosing the right glassware can enhance your rum-tasting experience by allowing the aromas to fully develop and the flavors to be savored. While there are no hard and fast rules, the following glassware options are commonly used for enjoying rum:

  1. Tulip or Copita Glass: These glasses have a tapered shape that concentrates the aromas, making them ideal for tasting and savoring the complex flavors of aged or premium rums. The narrow opening captures the aromas, allowing you to fully appreciate the nuances.
  2. Snifter Glass: With its wide bowl and narrow rim, a snifter glass is often associated with the enjoyment of spirits. It allows the aromas to be concentrated, while the wide bowl allows for gentle swirling to release the flavors. Snifter glasses are particularly suited for sipping and savoring aged rums.
  3. Highball or Collins Glass: These tall and narrow glasses are commonly used for mixing rum cocktails. They allow for the addition of ice, mixers, and garnishes, making them perfect for enjoying refreshing rum-based drinks like the Mojito or Rum and Coke.
  4. Rocks Glass: Also known as a lowball or old-fashioned glass, this short and wide glass is versatile and can be used for both neat sipping and cocktail enjoyment. It is commonly used for serving aged rums on the rocks or for cocktails like the Rum Old Fashioned.

The choice of glassware ultimately comes down to personal preference and the type of rum experience you seek. Experiment with different glasses to find the one that best suits your tastes and enhances your enjoyment of rum.

Tips for Hosting a Rum Tasting Party

Hosting a rum tasting party can be a fun and educational experience for you and your guests. Here are some tips to help you create a memorable event:

  1. Select a Variety of Rums: Choose a selection of rums that showcase different styles, flavors, and regions. Include a range of light, dark, aged, and spiced rums to provide a comprehensive tasting experience.
  2. Provide Tasting Notes: Create tasting notes or placemats that guide your guests through the tasting process. Include details about each rum’s origin, production method, flavors, and suggested pairings.
  3. Offer a Tasting Flight: Arrange the rums in a logical order, starting with lighter and milder rums and progressing to the more robust and complex varieties. This allows guests to appreciate the subtle nuances without overwhelming their palates.
  4. Encourage Discussion: Foster an environment where guests feel comfortable sharing their thoughts and observations about each rum. Encourage conversations about flavors, aromas, and personal preferences. This can lead to a deeper appreciation and understanding of rum.
  5. Pair with Complementary Foods: Enhance the tasting experience by providing small bites or snacks that complement the flavors of the rums. Offer options like dark chocolate, tropical fruits, nuts, or cheese to showcase how rum can pair with different foods.
  6. Experiment with Cocktails: After the tasting, encourage guests to unleash their creativity by providing a selection of mixers, garnishes, and recipes for rum cocktails. This allows everyone to put their newfound knowledge to use and create unique personalized drinks.
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Hosting a rum tasting party is not only a great way to learn more about rum but also a fantastic opportunity to bond with friends and share your passion for this versatile spirit.

Exploring Rum and Chocolate Pairings

The combination of rum and chocolate is a match made in heaven, as the rich and complex flavors of both complement one another. When pairing rum with chocolate, consider the following:

  1. Dark Chocolate: The intensity and bitterness of dark chocolate pair well with aged or dark rums. Look for chocolates with a high cocoa content (70% or higher) to balance the richness of the rum.
  2. Milk Chocolate: The creamy and smooth nature of milk chocolate pairs beautifully with lighter or sweeter rums. This combination offers a harmonious balance of flavors and textures.
  3. Flavored Chocolates: Experiment with flavored chocolates, such as those infused with fruits, nuts, or spices, to find unique pairings. For example, a rum-infused truffle can complement the flavors of a spiced rum, creating a delightful fusion of tastes.
  4. Sipping and Savoring: Enjoy small sips of rum and bites of chocolate together, allowing the flavors to mingle on your palate. Take your time to savor the combination and appreciate how the different taste profiles interact and enhance one another.

Rum and chocolate pairings offer a sensory journey that indulges both the palate and the senses. Explore different combinations to discover your own personal favorites.

Rum and Cigar Pairings: How to Enhance the Experience

For those who enjoy the pleasures of both rum and cigars, pairing them can create a truly transcendent experience. Here are some tips to enhance your enjoyment of rum and cigars together:

  1. Consider the Strength: Match the strength of the rum with the strength of the cigar. A fuller-bodied rum can stand up to a robust and bold cigar, while a milder rum may be better suited to a lighter and more delicate cigar.
  2. Complement or Contrast: Decide whether you want the flavors of the rum and cigar to complement each other or provide a contrasting experience. For complementing pairings, look for shared flavor profiles. For contrasting pairings, seek contrasting flavors that create a harmonious balance.
  3. Balance the Flavors: Pay attention to the flavors and aromas of both the rum and the cigar. Take small sips of rum and puffs of the cigar, allowing the flavors to mingle on your palate. Look for complementary or contrasting notes that enhance the overall experience.
  4. Experiment with Pairings: There are no hard and fast rules when it comes to rum and cigar pairings, so don’t be afraid to experiment. Try different combinations to discover the ones that bring you the most pleasure.

Remember, the enjoyment of rum and cigars is a personal experience, and everyone’s preferences may vary. Trust your own palate and explore the wide range of possibilities to find the combinations that provide the most satisfaction.

Understanding the flavors of rum, choosing the right glassware, hosting a rum tasting party, exploring rum and chocolate pairings, and experimenting with rum and cigar pairings can all enhance your appreciation of this versatile spirit. In the final section of this blog post, we will recap the versatility of rum and provide some concluding thoughts on pairing rum with various ingredients and foods.


Throughout this comprehensive exploration of rum and its perfect pairings, we have discovered the immense versatility and enjoyment that this spirit brings. From its humble beginnings in the Caribbean to its global popularity, rum has evolved into a beloved and cherished beverage that captivates our senses and transports us to tropical paradises.

We began by understanding the definition and brief history of rum, learning about its different types and how they contribute to the diverse flavor profiles found in this spirit. We then delved into the art of pairing rum with various mixers and ingredients, exploring classic options like soda water, ginger beer, and fruit juices, as well as creamy alternatives like coconut cream and coffee. These pairings unveiled the countless possibilities for creating refreshing and delectable rum cocktails.

Moving beyond cocktails, we explored the perfect pairings of rum with different types of foods. From appetizers and small bites like ceviche and empanadas to main courses such as grilled seafood and jerk chicken, rum has proven to be a versatile companion that enhances flavors and adds a touch of sophistication to any dish. We also discovered how rum can elevate desserts and sweet treats, from rum cakes to rum-infused chocolate truffles, creating indulgent and unforgettable culinary experiences.

Traveling across continents, we explored rum cocktails from around the world. From the Caribbean classics like the Mojito and Piña Colada to the exotic tiki-inspired creations like the Mai Tai and Zombie, each cocktail showcased the cultural influences and unique flavors that make rum cocktails so captivating. We also ventured into the realm of twists on traditional cocktails, discovering the Dark and Stormy, Rum Old Fashioned, Rum Sour, and Rum Martinez, all of which demonstrated the versatility and adaptability of rum in mixology.

To fully appreciate the complexities of rum, we delved into rum tasting and pairing tips. Understanding the flavor profiles of different rums, choosing the right glassware, hosting rum tasting parties, exploring rum and chocolate pairings, and experimenting with rum and cigar pairings all contribute to a deeper appreciation of the spirit. These insights allow us to savor the nuances, aromas, and flavors that each rum offers, elevating our enjoyment and understanding of this remarkable spirit.

In conclusion, rum is a spirit that has captured the hearts, palates, and imaginations of people across the globe. Its versatility in cocktails, pairings with various ingredients and foods, and its ability to transport us to different cultures through its diverse range of flavors make it an exceptional choice for any occasion. Whether sipping a fine aged rum neat, enjoying a refreshing cocktail on a sunny day, or pairing it with delectable dishes, rum continues to bring joy, warmth, and a touch of Caribbean sunshine to our lives.

So, raise your glass, embrace the spirit of adventure, and continue to explore the wonderful world of rum. Cheers to the perfect pairings and the unforgettable experiences that await!

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