The paradise islands of the Caribbean have provided the world with many exceptional things: great music, delicious food, and rum. It’s the rum that we are particularly thankful for. Now that summer has come we can finally let loose and enjoy the outdoors, head to the bar and walk away with some colourful concoctions in our hands that will bring merry smiles to our faces. It’s time to champion rum – the spirit of sunshine, summer and good times.
It’s believed that rum was first developed as a sugar cane juice either in ancient China or India. However the first distillation of rum took place in the Caribbean back in the 17th century. Tradition notes Barbados as the true home of the spirit and you can sample a tipple in any Babados resorts.
Gin drunk supposedly makes you feel maudlin and feckless. Rum drunk is known to be the best kind of drunk. Think of those that have been associated with rum: British naval officers, pirates, Ernest Hemmingway…all jolly chaps right? Rum has sailed across the high seas and landed in every port, leaving a lasting impression and gathered an army of rum revelling groupies.
There are three main styles of rum: white rum, aged rum (also known as gold rum) and dark rum. Each Caribbean Island is famed for a rum cocktail. Here are five delicious cocktails from four different islands.
Made in Cuba: Mojito
The signature cocktail of Cuba helped to inspire one of the 20th century’s famous writers. Ernest Hemmingway wrote about his days drinking mojitos at Havana’s La Bodeguita del Medio bar. The recipe is still served there today. But if a trip to Cuba isn’t in your budget replicate Hemmingway’s recipe anyway at home:
6 fresh mint leaves
Juice of 1 lime
2 tsp light brown sugar
3 shots white rum
Champagne or soda water
Sprig of fresh mint, for garnish
In a shaker, lightly muddle the mint. Add the brown sugar, lime juice and rum and fill with ice. Shake well and pour into a glass. Top with the champagne and garnish with a sprig of fresh mint.
Made in Puerto Rico: Pina Colada
In the words of Rupert Holmes in ‘Escape’: “Yes I like Pina Coladas and getting caught in the rain….” Puerto Rico’s national drink is one of the most famous Caribbean cocktail, replicated in bars around the world and even sold ready made in supermarkets. Barrachina claims to be the birthplace of the Pina Colada. The proper Puerto Rican way however is to serve it on the rocks.
3 shots fresh pineapple juice
1 shot cream of coconut
1 ¼ shot Rom del Barrilito rum
Blend together and garnish with a slice of orange and a maraschino cherry.
Made in Barbados: Rum Punch
Barabdos’ version of the Caribbean punchy drink is citrus fruit based with the inclusion of orange and pineapple juice. It’s a great juice to serve at parties, and the vibrant orange liquid compliments anybody who’s watching the golden sunset on a Barbados beach break. You can make the cocktail yourself for a Caribbean themed garden barbecue party.
1 shot Coruba dark rum
1 shot Appleton special
1 shot White rum
Dash of Orange Juice
Dash of Pineapple Juice
Splash of Bitters
Mix all ingredients and serve in a tall glass. Serve with ice.
Made in Bermuda: Dark and Stormy
Fans of this concoction say the one and only way to make and drink this is by only using the original ingredients from Bermuda. This is a fiery mixture. Be ready to tantalise your tongue with spiciness.
2 shots spiced rum
300ml ginger beer
Juice of ½ a lime
Fill a glass with ginger beer and add two shots of spiced rum. Squeeze half a lime over the top and wipe the lime around the rim of the glass. Serve with ice.
Made in Jamaica: Flaming Bob Marley
This is not for the faint-hearted. Grown men have been stretchered away by the bar staff from this stuff! One man holidaying in Jamaica drank it on a night out and woke up to find he was on another island. The ‘Flaming Bob Marley’ is made up of four different liqueurs mixed together. You then set it on fire and then drink it through a straw.
½ shot grenadine
½ shot Galliano or banana liqueur
¼ shot creme de menthe
½ shot Bacardi 151 or overproof rum
So, you may not have any plans to visit any of these cool Caribbean islands anytime soon but that doesn’t mean you have to deny yourself a tipple of the islands’ favourite tipple. Gather friends and family around for a taste of the Caribbean culture. It is still summer after all!