If you asked 100 people what their favourite Caribbean cocktail was, you would get 100 different responses. Factors such as location, age, time of day and even weather can influence the results. One thing we can all agree on however is that next to the beach and the sunshine, creative island cocktails are pretty much the best part of being on vacation. Recipes often vary from island to island and in many cases from bar to bar. Once again we employed our highly scientific research team to try them all, and identify our top 10 Caribbean cocktails. *Disclaimer. There is nothing scientific about our team or our research. We just like saying that…and we like cocktails.
The Painkiller is the signature drink of the British Virgin Islands. Said to have originated in the 70’s on Jost Van Dyke, the Painkiller is a blend of dark rum, pineapple juice, cream of coconut and orange juice, shaken and served over ice with a generous sprinkling of fresh-grated nutmeg on top. The famous cocktail has been trademarked by Pusser’s Rum.
2. TI Punch
Pronounced “tee punch”, the Ti is actually short for petite. The national drink of Martinique, Ti Punch is very popular among the French Caribbean Islands. A simple cocktail with just 3 ingredients, namely rhum agricole, fresh lime juice and cane syrup, the Ti Punch is often compared to Brazils famous Caipirinha.
The Bushwacker is essentially the ultimate adult milkshake. Believed to have originated in St Thomas, Virgin Islands, Bushwacker recipes vary tremendously depending on your location. Tasting much like a chocolate Pina Colada, the Bushwacker’s key ingredients are usually dark rum, Kahlua, coconut and Crème De Cacao, with Amaretto, Frangelico, Vodka, Baileys and even ice cream in some versions.
4. Ting wit a Sting
Ting Wit A Sting can be found at beach bars across St Kitts & Nevis. Made by mixing local CSR(Cane Spirit Rothschild) white rum with Ting, a carbonated grapefruit beverage popular in the Caribbean, Ting Wit A Sting is both tart and sweet. Ting Wit A Sting is perhaps one of the lesser known cocktails on this list, but it’s definitely worth a try!
The Mojito dates back to the 16th century. Traditionally, a mojito consists of five ingredients: white rum, sugar, lime juice, sparkling water and mint. The combination of sweetness, refreshing citrus and mint flavors make this a very popular island drink. TIP: Try substituting the rum for cognac next time for a nice variation.
6. Pina Colada
Perhaps the most popular island cocktail of them all, the Pina Colada is the national drink of Puerto Rico. The blend of rum, cream of coconut and pineapple juice is usually served blended, and garnished with a pineapple wedge and maraschino cherry. The piña colada has been the national drink of Puerto Rico since 1978.
7. Planters Punch
Hailing from Jamaica, Planters Punch can be found on cocktail lists around the world. Planters Punch often refers to class of cocktails much the same way “Martini” refers to a variety of drinks served in a Martini glass. The basic principle of a Planters Punch can be memorized with a simple rhyme: “One of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak.” That’s 1 part citrus, 2 parts sugar, 3 parts rum, 4 parts water.
8. Rum Runner
The Rum Runner originated in the Florida Keys as early as the 50’s. Like most Caribbean cocktails, there is no exact recipe but rather geo-specific interpretations of the famous cocktail. The key ingredients in a Rum Runner usually include blackberry liqueur, banana liqueur, white and dark rum, pineapple juice and orange juice.
9. Aruba Ariba
This unique cocktail is native to Aruba. The secret ingredient to the Aruba Ariba is a local liquor called Coecoei, which to the best of our knowledge is not available anywhere except Aruba. CoeCoe is made from the agave plant with rum and cane sugar added, and has a subtle passion fruit flavor. The Aruba Ariba also contains vodka, 151 proof rum, Crème de Banana, orange, cranberry and pineapple
10. Mama Juana
Described by locals as “Dominican Viagra”, Mama Juana is perhaps the most unique signature drink in the islands. Various local herbs and dried barks are steeped with red wine, honey and rum for months and the result is a sweet, deeply flavoured concoction believed to have medicinal properties. Mama Juana is often consumed in shot form, but can also be enjoyed over ice much like a sangria.