Not all Caribbean islands are created equal, certainly when it comes to their beverages. While most bars worth their salt will eagerly give you the requested Mojito or Hummingbird, it certainly pays to drink like the locals the next time you visit a Caribbean island (or else, you could have visited your local liquor store). Here are the top killer signature drinks in the islands you’ll want to investigate.
Jamaican Bluebird: This drink, made with rum (obviously) is fruity and creamy. It features crème de cacao, bananas and ice cream, so it’s a great choice if you’re into something sweet and dessert-like. The alcoholic element is the Blue Curacao. Where to drink this? Try BiBiBips, a typical Caribbean Oceanside bar in Ocho Rios (93 Main Road, Ocho Rios; 001 876 974 8759).
Jamaican Sour Sop Drink: A well-kept secret (well, not anymore!), this drink features a local treasure – the sour sop fruit (the name comes from the Dutch Zuurzak meaning “acid sac;” this sour fruit is a member of the pawpaw family and is also popular in Southeast Asia). This drink also features condensed milk, nutmeg, vanilla and the spiked version also features rum. You’d do well to try a sour sop drink just about anywhere, even in vendor stalls and carts, during your next Caribbean vacation
Aruba Arriva: The well-known and fruity cocktail features Blue Curacao, coconut cream, banana, pineapple juices and rum. You can find this at just about any bar in Aruba, especially the hot spots that the guys who drive the Banana Bus pick.
Banana Daiquiri: Before you pooh-pooh the idea that the banana daiquiri is a signature caribbean island drink, let’s start with a bit of folklore. Legend has it that the famous British restauranteur, Conrad Graves, sailed from his native island of Tortola to find the best Caribbean drink, and he found it on the highest mountain on top of the island of St. Thomas, at St. Thomas Mountaintop Bar in the U.S. Virgin Islands. The place burned down in 2009, but has recently been resurrected. The drink features dark rum, sugar, lime, banana liqueur, water and ripe peeled bananas.
Old Fashioned Rum Punch: This signature cocktail is a concoction of the Jumby Bay Resort in Antigua and features fresh-squeezed lime juice, Cavalier Rum (which is a dark Antigua Rum), sugar, Angostura Bitters and a dash of cinnamon. Enjoy this poolside or on the beach; always drink it iced.
Bahama Mama: A very popular drink on both cruise ships and the islands of the Bahamas themselves, the iconic Bahama Mama always comes with a pretty patterned umbrella. It features regular rum, coconut-flavored rum, grenadine syrup, orange juice, pineapple juice and crushed ice. One way to really party like a local is to take the Bahama Mama Booze Cruise on Grand Bahama Island.