Photo Credit: Photo credit: Sandor Mejias Brito
Love Rum? These Caribbean Islands Pioneered Popular Brands
No matter where you go in the Caribbean, nothing inspires a good time like rum. There’s a reason why some call it the alcohol of the people. It has a long history, and you can find it anywhere—from casual beach eateries to fine dining spots. It can be used in cocktails or enjoyed straight.
The next time you visit these Caribbean islands, check out their locally-made rums.
Jamaica – Wray & Nephew
This white rum is known for its high proof and strong flavor. Unless you’re really trying to get lit, you just need a little to give your drink some razzle-dazzle.
According to Liquor, some of the notes here include “overripe banana, pineapple, and a hint of brown sugar.” You might also pick up coconut, vanilla, and molasses.
The brand was developed by Charles John Wray in the early 1800s. Over time, Wray & Nephew accrued many awards. Just as Red Stripe is the official beer of Jamaica, Wray & Nephew is the rum equivalent.
Aside from punch, throw some of this into a Kingston Negroni or a Daiquiri.
Barbados – Mount Gay
Next, there’s Mount Gay, whose Barbados origins date back to 1703.
In the early days, it was called Mount Gilboa, since that’s where the original distillery was located. This distillery, owned by John Sober, passed the reins to Sir John Gay Alleyne, who brought the rum to new heights. Thus, it was re-christened Mount Gay.
If you want to learn more about this Bajan rum, book a distillery tour on the island. One way to help bring out the rich notes in this rum is to pair it with chocolates, and the pros in Barbados can show you how. For budding bartenders, take a cocktail workshop.
Haiti – Barbancourt
For more than 150 years, Barbancourt has enjoyed the distinction of being Haiti’s preferred rum. All of the rums under the brand are carefully crafted and aged in oak barrels.
Rhum Blanc is ideal for cocktails. There are also three dark rums, which are aged four years, eight years, and fifteen years, respectively.
Puerto Rico – Don Q and Bacardi
Puerto Rico is one of the rum capitals. It created several brands including Don Q and Bacardi. Over time, the process of creating these has been refined, and it shows in the quality.
Coquito, a Puerto Rican eggnog, is a popular holiday drink. Gold Puerto Rican Rum is one ingredient, along with coconut cream, evaporated and condensed milk, vanilla extract, and cinnamon. Don’t forget piña colada, which is made with Bacardi Black Rum.
St. Lucia – Chairman’s Reserve
If you prefer dark rum, try Chairman’s Reserve when you’re in St. Lucia.
According to The Rum Barrel Blog, “The Chairman’s range consists of Chairman’s Reserve, Chairman’s Reserve Spiced, Chairman’s Forgotten Casks, and Chairman’s Legacy.”
While all are nice, the spiced rum is quite special. It’s infused with notes of orange, lemon, coconut, cinnamon, and more. It tastes good enough to enjoy on the rocks or neat. You can also use it for baking and cooking.
One ingredient is bois bande, or “hard wood.” Some St. Lucians believe it’s an aphrodisiac, and it gives the rum a unique kick.