The 16th August 2019 marks National Rum Day in the UK. A day that’s totally dedicated to the distilled alcoholic beverage, you know the one that we’ve got to thank for making our tropical cocktails so incredibly tasty. From Mojitos and Mai Tai’s to Pina Coladas and delicious Daiquiri’s, this sugar cane spirit is the main ingredient of many of our all-time favourite classics!
So, where exactly was rum invented? We’ll give you a clue. It’s an area of the world that has the most stunning shorelines to sing about — imagine turquoise-tinted waters, milky-white sands and lush rainforests…
The Caribbean is where the first known distillation of rum took place, all the way back in the 17th-century. Rumour has it that the slaves working on the plantations were the first to discover that the various sugarcane plantations could be used to distill the sugar into a spirit. Fast forward to today and pretty much every Caribbean island makes their own rum, some are marketable brands that you’ve heard of while others are local bush rums that you’ve probably never seen before. Whatever type it is, a Caribbean holiday wouldn’t be complete without giving them a try and here’s a round-up of the best bars to do so.
Aruba has all the qualities a Caribbean island should have including an impressive rum offering. Back in the day, nightlife here revolved massively around its modest rum shops however today, its focus has shifted to its diverse selection of lively drinking spots, including beach hangouts, open-air bars and glitzy casinos all of which serve up the finest rum concoctions.
If you like Pina Coladas (without getting caught in the rain!), head to the Bugaloe Beach Bar and Grill at the Palm Beach. This place has a picture-perfect setting thanks to its positioning on the pier, so you can expect uninterrupted sea-views whilst you take advantage of its daily double happy hour. Perhaps this is the reason that it’s been selected as one of the 10 best beach bars in the Caribbean? Either that or its signature cocktail – Aruba Ariba, a sweet concoction of vodka, banana liquer, triple sec, fruit juice and of course rum as its main ingredient.
Barbados lives by the motto ‘time flies when you’re having rum’ and rightly so, after all this island is said to be the first place the spirit was produced. That explains the large amount of rum shops dotted across the island – there’s more than 1500! On top of its rum shops, Barbados boasts some brilliantly boozy all-you-can-drink rum cruises and plenty of bars.
One bar in particular stands out from the rest. Along with being used as the backdrop to a number of music videos, The John Moore Bar is unmistakeably different from most on the island. Described as a ‘proper local rum shack’ with a 4.5 rating on TripAdvisor, you’ll be served with wide smiles from the friendliest locals in a beside-the-beach setting. But, the highlight here is the sweet golden nectar named Mount Gay. This is one of the oldest rums in the world and you’ll be served it by the bottle, not the glass.
Touch down in Cuba and you’ll soon ease into the spirit of island life with a cocktail made from one of the best brands of rum in the world. By that we mean Havana Club – this globally renowned brand was first invented on the tropical isle of Cuba and now has over 30 million litres exported to different countries worldwide, every year.
It goes without saying, when holidaying in Cuba you can’t let your trip pass without tasting the best Cuban spirit there is and El Floridita can help you with that. This is one of the coolest cocktail bars on the island with a whole lot of history behind it. Originally starting out as a small, rundown bodega, it’s now one of Havana’s best-loved treasures and where the delicious Daiquiri that we all love today was first created. You know the Daiquiri’s here are good when they impressed infamous writer, Ernest Hemingway who then claimed El Floridita as his favourite haunt.
When it comes to rum, Jamaica is another one that rules the roost. It may only be a small island in size but that definitely doesn’t apply to its rum supplies. In fact, Jamaica has the capacity to produce 50 million litres of the spirit a year. Not only that, there’s more varieties here than anywhere else in the world. It’s also the birthplace of the prestigious Wray and Nephew Overproof White Rum – shot anyone?
One of the best watering holes on the island is Rick’s Café in Negril. This hotspot is perched on the side of a 35-foot high cliff and boasts unrivalled views of the sunset plus a ‘World Famous Rum Punch’ that we’ve heard is out of this world. The bar is considered ‘A MUST experience while in Jamaica’ with a 4 out of 5 rating on TripAdvisor – because nothing beats watching the sun go down over the Caribbean Sea with a local rum in your hand, right?!
As you’ve probably gathered by now, rum is an essential part of any Caribbean holiday and St Lucia is no exception. Being the birthplace of the exceptional Chairman’s Reserve, you know you’re in good hands. Since its first blend back in 1999, this tipple has won a number of awards and has become an absolute must-have whilst holidaying on this tropical treasure.
To enjoy a true taste of the Caribbean, make a beeline for The Cane Bar in the Soufriere region. Along with its chic interior, this five-star spot provides a professional ‘rummelier’ – an expert in the drinking field who will help you chose the best rum for you. Whether its native or international, you’re guaranteed to sample the planet’s best aged spirits. Of course traditional cocktails are available but there’s some unusual ones thrown in the mix too. Will you be brave enough to try The Hurricane?
So, whether you’re a rum enthusiast or novice sipper, which Caribbean island will you choose? Take a look at our Caribbean holidays and find out how much you can SAVE with Holiday Hypermarket.