Why is the rum gone? That could be because for hundreds of years rum has found its way into a vast variety of popular punches and mixed drinks that have not only been enjoyed in the Caribbean, but also throughout the world. This has sparked the quintessential image of lying on a beach drinking intoxicating elixirs. Rum is the typical base for Caribbean cocktails because it is comprised of leftover materials from making sugarcane, a historically common crop in the area. A cocktail on the beach is a must during your trip to the Caribbean. Let’s start with these….
Though there is some dispute about which bartender invented it, the Pina Colada has been a popular drink in Puerto Rico since the 1950s. However, legend has it that in the 1820s, a pirate by the name of Roberto Cofresí came up with the beverage as way of improving his crew’s spirits on long voyages. Whatever the true story is, people have been quaffing this white rum based beverage ever since. Some people use coconut cream in their recipes but the original recipes call for cream of coconut, which is not the same thing at all. Various recipes can be found online, but the IBA insists that the creation is comprised of one part white rum, one part coconut milk and three parts pineapple juice. It is typically contains crushed ice and is garnished with a maraschino cherry and/or pineapples slices.
Depending on whose version of the story you believe, this beverage originated in either Jamaica or South Carolina. Like the Pina Colada, Planter’s Punch is a rum-based beverage typically garnished with pineapples slices as maraschino cherries. It is highly alcoholic and was comprised of a variety of historically cheap ingredients. The punch contains dark rum, grenadine syrup, sugar syrup, Angostura bitters, and also lime, lemon, and orange juices in varying quantities. Some recipes also call for cayenne pepper to be added.
This simple beverage was first concocted in Cuba. Though variations are endless, the plainest version includes 3 parts simple syrup, 5 parts lime juice, and 9 parts white or “light” rum. Making the beverage tarter or sweeter is easily accomplished by adjusting the amounts of either the lime juice or the syrup. This drink should be shaken well and served in a chilled cocktail glass, according to all reports. Beverage variations include the ever-popular strawberry or banana, each with the aforementioned fruit. The Daiquiri Floridita, which contains maraschino liqueur, is yet another mutation.
It is said the Mojito was created by the crew of Sir Francis Drake as a cure for the health problems on their ship. Using local ingredients, the sailors hit upon this recipe that not only cured them, but possibly rendered them too insensate to do much in the way of colonizing the New World. A traditional Mojito is comprised of 3 parts lime juice, 4 parts white rum, several crushed mint or yerba buena leaves, a splash of soda water and cane juice. This drink is typically garnished with mint springs. In more modern recipes, two teaspoons of sugar are often used in place of the cane juice so as to better control the beverage’s sweetness.
This French Caribbean beverage is similar to a daiquiri as it contains white rum, lime juice, and syrup. Rhum agricole or cane juice rum is more commonly used than white rum however and the syrup can be replaced in some recipes with sugar. This drink is a potent start to a meal in many Caribbean countries, where it is traditional for guests to be offered the ingredients and make their own according to their personal preference. Traditionally ice is not included in the recipe, but aficionados insist that using it will improve the beverage’s flavor considerably. Others veto the addition as a travesty.
What are some of your favorite tropical drinks?