There’s nothing quite like a cool, refreshing rum cocktail when holidaying in the Caribbean.
And if that drink is served on a white sand beach, with the sounds of the ocean ringing in your ears as you enjoy views of crystal clear waters twinkling in the sunshine, then it’s all the better!
It’ll come as no surprise that the islands so famed for their love of rum are also home to some of the world’s best rum distilleries. In fact, the majority of the rum that’s consumed worldwide is still made in Caribbean rum distilleries.
So next time you're trying out a pina colada recipe or making a rum runner cocktail, tip your glass to the Caribbean.
Let's discuss the history of rum and where you can find the Caribbean's best rum distilleries when you're staying at one of the luxurious all-inclusive resorts available there.
Rum’s history in the Caribbean goes back hundreds of years. The first recorded rum distillation in the Caribbean is reported to have taken place way back in the 17th Century, when plantation slaves in Barbados made the exciting discovery that one of the byproducts of the sugar refining process, molasses, could actually have another use.
It could be turned into an alcoholic drink, through the process of fermentation. The end result was then distilled, to remove impurities, and that process created a palatable and strong drink that was one considered the world’s first rums.
Now, the Caribbean is home to many rum distilleries throughout its islands, you just need to know where to look.
No matter where you’re headed in the Caribbean, there's a high likelihood that you’ll be within reach of a world-class rum distillery, and if you are, we highly recommend that you take the time to visit and enjoy one of the many informative and interesting rum distillery tours available.
Here are just a few of the best rum distilleries in the Caribbean, for a little boozy inspiration:
This isn’t the oldest rum distillery in Barbados, but it’s one of the best ones to visit, thanks to its great beachfront location and top class rum tour.
You’ll find the West Indies Rum Distillery near Brighton, Black Rock, toward the south of the island. The old column and pot stills are still in use here, so visitors can even sample different types of rum and decide for themselves whether they think rum is best when distilled in column stills, or via the more traditional pot stills.
Have you ever heard of ocean ageing? Well if you haven’t, you can’t miss a trip to the Cayman Spirits Company. This exciting rum distillery ages its rum on the ocean floor, no less than seven fathoms deep. That’s where their ‘Seven Fathoms Rum’ gets its name.
This distillery is also behind another spectacular spirit: Gun Bay Vodka. Both drinks are available to try as part of the tour, so we hope you’re thirsty!
For a real taste of Jamaican history, don’t miss this fantastic Jamaican rum distillery. The Hampden Estate is one of the island’s oldest sugar estates, and its legacy remains a powerful one in the world of rum.
The rum factory in Jamaica is known for its delicious rums, which boast huge, bold flavours and are still distilled via the traditional pot still method. Hampden Estate rum remains the first-choice heavy pot rum consumed in Europe to this day. This historic rum distillery is well worth a visit.
Some of the Caribbean’s rum distilleries are held in such high regard that getting your hands on a bottle of their rum is no easy feat.
Grenada rum distillery River Antoine is one such place. The distillery has been producing rum since 1785, but it still doesn’t make enough to meet local demand, so if you want to try their rum, you’ll need to be quick.
River Antoine is still a working distillery, and it employs 80 local people. So, if you want a real, authentic glimpse of life inside a Caribbean rum distillery, this is the trip to take.
At the end of the tour, visitors are treated to a rum tasting with four different drinks to try. Be prepared though, the last rum you’ll try is so powerful that you can’t take it on a plane! The 150 over-proof River Antoine Royal Grenadian Rum is not for the faint of heart!
Any casual rum drinker will know the name Bacardi. It’s one of the most popular rum brands consumed worldwide. And if you want to find out a little more about how Bacardi is made, you can. You’ll find the Bacardi distillery tours in Puerto Rico, about a 20 minute drive from San Juan.
This huge factory building welcomes visitors through its doors six days a week (it’s closed on Mondays). Venture inside and you’ll be treated to an informative and entertaining tour that gives you a real insight into Bacardi’s history, including the traditional methods of making Bacardi, old Bacardi advertising and tips on how to make the best Bacardi cocktails. Caribbean coffee and rum anyone?
So, now you know all there is to know about the best rum distilleries in the Caribbean, it must be time to book your next trip!
Consider booking your getaway at one Sandals' all inclusive resorts. Whether you’re headed to Jamaica, Grenada, Barbados, Puerto Rico or any of the other beautiful Caribbean islands, we bet you’ll find an epic rum distillery where the doors are open for visitors. We’ll drink to that!
While you are in the Caribbean you should also visit the quirkiest bars in the Caribbean.