Drinking rum in Barbados 101

Rum and Banks Beer in BarbadosHow to drink rum in Barbados like a local

It begins with the traditional chant of rum drinkers across the island, as all great evenings of camaraderie and debauchery do, to get everyone going:  

Through the teeth
Past the gums
Lookout guts
Here it comes!

With that, hold the shot of rum to your lips and in one foul swoop, tilt it back and let the smooth, sweet liquor swell down your throat.  It’s best chased with ice cold Banks Beer, the local Bajan brew and drink of choice for hot summer days or to accompany your rum.

Look for a local rum shop for the best rum-drinking experience in Barbados.  Red, yellow, and green-painted bars, walls, and stools are part of the experience.  See VisitBarbados.org Rum Shops for more. 

Planning a trip to Barbados or the Caribbean? Check out the tripatlas.com/new Trip Builder where you can request a quote local travel agents who are waiting to offer you custom prices on your trip.

Experience rum in Barbados

Barrels of rum at Four Square Distillery, BarbadosBarbados is the birthplace of rum and for almost 400 years, Barbados has been producing some of the world’s best rum.  In the 17th century with the growth of sugar plantations, slaves discovered molasses and began to ferment it into alcohol and distill it into what would become rum – described in 1651 as: “A hot, hellish, and terrible liquor.” 

The production of rum quickly spread through new colonies in North America like New England and later in Europe and Africa. Bajan rum is known to be richer, darker, and fuller in a molasses taste than rums produced elsewhere.  

Although distilling began in Barbados in 1637, the first official distillery in Barbados was Mount Gay Rum in 1703.  Vacationers in Barbados can visit the Mount Gay Rum Visitors Center (www.mountgayrum.com), just north of Bridgetown to tour the facilities to discover rum’s history on the island.  The 45-minute tour is $7 USD for adults (children free); a tour with lunch is $40 USD (children half price).

Foursquare Rum Distillery in BarbadosFor other rum experiences in Barbados, don’t miss West Indies Rum Distillery (www.westindiesrum.com), Foursquare Rum Distillery with a visit to historical Sunbury Plantation, and St. Nicholas Abbey (www.stnicholasabbey.com) for a small scale but notably important producer in Barbados.

Need-to-know Bajan rum recipes

Tommy’s Spiced Rum: Mount Gay Rum bottled and steeped for at least 24 hours with some nutmeg, cinnamon, clove, bay leaf, vanilla, allspice, star anise, orange zest. 

Classic Rum Punch: 1 part West Indian lime juice, 2 parts simple syrup, 3 parts Barbadian Rum, 4 parts water or ice, finish with a dash of bitters.

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