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While these six drinks aren’t the only Caribbean cocktails, they’re among the best known and most beloved. Odds are you’ve heard of most of them, but have you tried them all?
Tiki expert Jeff “Beachbum” Berry’s essential tome “Beachbum Berry’s Potions of the Caribbean” was an invaluable resource for compiling the list. His book also helped ensure these are indeed Caribbean drinks, not imports from Hawaii or the South Seas. (Sorry, Mai Tai). Some of these drinks have gotten a bad name over the decades––the Piña Colada, for example––but as you'll soon see, the recipes are solid. It's all a matter of the right proportions and good, fresh ingredients, which happen to be available in abundance in the Caribbean.
Whether you're on the beach, by the pool or in your living room, these Caribbean classics will have you feeling like you're in the tropics in no time.
Originating at the Caribe Hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico, in 1954, this frothy pineapple-coconut cocktail has become a symbol of tropical vacation paradise. It’s also one of the best-known blender drinks, spawning hundreds of variations. This recipe is unplugged, instead using pebble ice and a good old-fashioned shaker.
Tall, cool and refreshing, this rum staple is usually made with white rum, lime and sugar, served with plenty of ice and lengthened with soda water. Bartenders claim to hate making Mojitos, due to the time and effort needed to muddle fresh mint in the bottom of the glass. But they’re still a pleasure to drink—maybe even more so when you know the work that's gone into a good one.
Though it’s just a Rum & Coke with a squeeze of lime, what makes this cocktail iconic is that it supposedly doubled as a toast to a free Cuba: “Por Cuba Libre!” Another fun fact: The hit Andrews Sisters song “Rum and Coca-Cola” helped boost the drink’s popularity throughout the 1950s.
The Ti’ Punch—short for “petit punch” or “little punch”—is an ideal way to drink rhum agricole, the robust, grassy rum style made in Martinique and other French-speaking Caribbean islands. Usually made with just rhum agricole, cane syrup and a fresh lime half squeezed into a glass, this is a forgiving drink, and everyone seems to have their own variation. No wonder it’s Martinique’s national drink.
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Not necessarily what you imagine when you think of a Caribbean classic, this sleek drink is probably better enjoyed in a dark, wood-paneled bar rather than a sunny swim-up one. Yet another Cuban offering, the Prohibition-era El Presidente blends white rum, orange curaçao and dry vermouth, with a dash of grenadine for a romantic red hue.
At heart, it’s just a simple Rum Sour, made with the Caribbean holy trinity of rum, lime juice and sugar. At its best, made with good rum, it’s magical. The Liquor.com house daiquiri uses demerara syrup for extra depth, shaken to lip-smacking perfection.