As a rum enthusiast, the Caribbean is my favorite destination to indulge in that amber elixir. Brugal in the Dominican Republic, Appleton Estate in Jamaica, Bacardí in Puerto Rico, and, the most illustrious, Mount Gay in Barbados.
Not only is Barbados the birthplace of rum, having documentation proving that they originated the drink around 1650, but also Mount Gay is the oldest continuously operating commercial rum producer in the world. You can certainly go for a tour and a tasting right at the source, but I found that I enjoyed the experience of joining Bajans for a drink in the rum shops that dot the island. A rum shop is a hybrid of a corner store and a bar, and there are upwards of 1500 of them to choose from.
For a rum experience that is a little less well-known, journey to the rural north of the island toward St. Nicholas Abbey. This 17th-century, gabled plantation house and distillery is surrounded by lush landscape, which makes for a peaceful setting. The action, however, is in the steam mill. If your visit coincides with the crop season, where the cane is crushed for the next brew of rum.
It’s important to note that Barbados is more than just its rum. The island is rimmed with mile after mile of pristine beaches. Adventures abound at sea by catamaran or Atlantis submersible and on land by an off-road island safari. Its delicacies include the sweet and tender flying fish, and Bajans are warm and friendly people. The rum happens to make a good thing better.
Rum Punch Recipe
No matter if you venture to the fish fry at Oistins, attend the Crop Over carnival, or simply bask on a gorgeous beach, you can enhance your experience with an authentic Rum Punch. It’s perfection in a glass. Best yet, the Bajans have made a rhyme of the recipe so you can recreate it at home:
One of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak.
A dash of bitters and a sprinkle of spice, served well-chilled with plenty of ice.
Let’s break that down. One of sour is one part lime juice. Two of sweet means two parts sugar (or simple syrup, if you prefer). Three of strong is rum, of course. Aside from Mount Gay, Doorly’s and Plantation are other dark rums from Barbados that make for an excellent punch. Four of weak, is for fruit juice (or water). Cheers!