For many of us the idea of sailing in the Caribbean means getting away from it all; escaping to a place where there are ‘no worries’, no stress and no work to finish. Days can be spent languishing on deck or on warm white sand beaches, with, you guessed it, a refreshing tropical beverage in hand.
The Caribbean is famous for high quality rum and fresh fruit juices and these, along with other liqueurs and flavorings, are used in seemingly endless creations to delight visitors and locals alike. You may have tried a mojito or piña colada in a bar in your home town, but there’s nothing quite like sipping on a tropical concoction with those very same tropics surrounding you.
When in France you can taste the essence of the countryside in every sip of fine wine; in Russia you can sample regional vodka to really get a feel for the culture. The Caribbean’s answer to local beverages is a number of layered, perfectly blended, mixed and shaken cocktails, served up with a smile.
Every bar and restaurant has their own variations on popular favourites. Here are a few to keep an eye out for during your next charter in the region.
Painkiller. This classic recipe can be found on many if not all drink menus in the Caribbean. It’s perfectly balanced blend of coconut rum, rum and fruit juices is great for quenching your thirst. As its name implies, the Painkiller may even help with any aches and pains you might be feeling after a day of sailing or swimming. It’s equally good for those who’ve spent the day lounging on the sand.
Sex on the Beach. A blend of vodka, Midori and Chambord shaken with pineapple, orange and cranberry juice, this classic Caribbean staple has been popular for decades and possibly even centuries.
Mojitos. Whether you choose the traditional mojito blend or one that’s been creatively doctored up with fruit juices, the lime and mint in mojitos make them extremely refreshing. The standard is a blend of fresh mint leaves (muddled in the bottom of the glass), white rum, sugar, lime and sparkling water.
Rum Punch. Known by various aliases such as Plantar’s Punch and Bajan punch, this recipe traditionally calls for one part sour, two parts sweet, three parts strong, and four parts weak. There are thousands of varieties, normally featuring some combination of rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, grenadine and bitters.
Lime, Mango, Strawberry or Tamarind Margaritas. This Mexican favorite takes on new depths of flavor when paired with local Caribbean fruits. Its combination of imported tequila, salt and lime is a time-honored crowd pleaser. If you’ve never tried tamarind, do give it a go- it’s a tangy sweet flavor you won’t soon forget!
Cuba Libre. The perfect, simple departure from the standard rum and coke; the Cuba Libre simply adds lime juice. It’s a great way to really taste the notes in the locally produced artisanal rums.
Daquiri. Another excellent Cuban invention, the Daquiri combines white rum, sugar, lime and and the fruit of your choice- you’ll find anything from strawberry to mango to local sweet banana daquiries.
Rum Runner. This sweet, tasty blend of banana liqueur, blackberry brandy and 151-proof rum is sure to ease your mind at any time of day or night. It’s a strong, fruity mix that be tasted with caution, as with any drink that features 151.
You can learn more about local Caribbean drinks and their interesting origins by checking out GoCaribbean.com’s list– many of the drinks have roots that date back prohibition and the arrival of the Europeans in the region.
The Caribbean is also home to a number of great beers including Red Stripe, Kalik and Carib. Or, make a pit stop at a local microbrewery. The famous Foxy’s on Jost Van Dyke, for example, now brews smooth Caribbean draft beers.