Bahamian drinks, from coconut-infused concoctions to simple amber-hued libations, serve as the perfect accompaniment to the sun-soaked beaches, gentle azure waves, and blue skies that make The Bahamas an extraordinary vacation destination.
Spending a day on one of the pristine white-sand beaches with a delicious local beverage in hand is considered a day well spent in The Bahamas. Whether you prefer your drink shaken, stirred, or neat, these Bahamian cocktails are a must-try on your next visit.
Drinks in The Bahamas don’t get more iconic than the Bahama Mama. Its contents include dark and light rum, coffee-flavored liquor, fresh-squeezed lemon juice, and pineapple juice, adorned with a slice of pineapple or orange, and a Maraschino cherry.
The Bahama Mama’s coffee liqueur perfectly tempers the fruity ingredients to create a perfectly balanced cocktail with just the right amount of sweetness and earthy depth.
This rum-based cocktail has been around for decades and is perfect for getting into vacation mode. In The Bahamas, you’re likely to find a plethora of variations on the Bahama Mama. Some come with coconut liquor instead of coffee, and some are served as a slushie for an extra cooling effect.
However you opt to complete your Bahama Mama, its appearance alone sparks joy with its bright colors and fruity toppings.
Sky Juice/Gully Wash
A Sky Juice, also known as a Gully Wash, is a true Bahamian backyard drink, served at barbecues, parties, and offered by beach vendors and at bars around the islands.
Sample a Sky Juice in Nassau’s Arawak Cay, known for its Bahamian food stalls selling a range of conch and fried fish dishes.
It’s thought that this is where the Sky Juice was invented, during the Prohibition era, at the pastel-colored Goldie’s Conch House, with locals creating a drink based on whatever ingredients were most accessible at that time.
This Bahamian drink switches rum for gin as its base liquor. In addition, a Sky Juice consists of coconut water and condensed milk, shaken and stirred. The drink is poured over a liberal serving of ice and topped with grated nutmeg, for an earthy, spicy finish.
If your drink is served in a glass, you’ll notice your Sky Juice has a frothy top and creamy appearance; though it’s sometimes served the rustic way: in a hard coconut shell straight off the beach.
Similar to a Piña Colada, The Painkiller might just be the drink that cures you on a balmy Bahamas day. At the very least, it should induce a relaxed mood, particularly if you’ve spent the day dipping into bright turquoise water on some of the best beaches in The Bahamas.
Created in the 1970s, in the heyday of kitsch cocktails, The Painkiller is a knockout combination of dark rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, and cream of coconut.
Though the cocktail was invented at the Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost Van Dyke Island, it didn’t take long for its popularity to sweep across the Caribbean.
Pineapple Upside-Down Martini
This jaunty drink tastes exactly as you might imagine: an alcoholic upside-down pineapple cake in a martini glass.
A mix of vanilla-flavored vodka gives the Pineapple Upside-Down Martini its sweet flavor, complete with pineapple juice, a dash of grenadine, and, of course, topped with a glazed cherry and pineapple slice for extra flamboyance.
The grenadine is usually poured into the martini glass first to create a deep-red layered base. The other ingredients are then shaken in a mixer and strained into the glass to create the upper liquid layer.
Does the Pineapple Upside-Down Martini taste anything like its namesake? Sure, just with an added Martini kick.
This thirst-quenching beer is one of the most popular drinks in The Bahamas. Its name comes from the name given to the sound of cowbells that linger in the air at Jankunu, or Junkanoo, an annual festival that takes place on December 26 and July 10, The Bahamas’ Independence Day.
Whether cowbells are within earshot or not, an ice-cold Kalik on a warm Bahamas beach is a joyous thing. Take your pick from Kalik Gold, originally introduced in 1992 to mark the 500th anniversary of Columbus’ arrival in the new world.
The range also includes Kalik Light, Kalik Lime, Kalik Light Platinum, a malt liquor, and Kalik Radler, a low-alcohol beer with a hint of lemon.
Bahama Barrels Wines
If you’re more suited to sipping on elegant wines, one of the best things to do in Nassau is to visit the Bahama Barrels, the islands’ first winery.
Located near Nassau’s National Art Gallery and Heritage Museum on West Hill Street, Bahamas Barrels is part of the Graycliff complex within the former Sisters of Charity convent, its chapel, and the former Mountbatten home.
Though grapes are not grown in The Bahamas, they’re blended from several different countries, Bahamas Barrels indulges oenophiles and those with a desire to learn more about the wine-making process.
Led by a Californian winemaker, visitors could blend their own wine at Bahamas Barrels or simply sip on a range of prestigious wines from around the world.
Afterward, pop into Graycliff Chocolatier to sample the delicious line of chocolates and truffles.
Few Bahamian drinks are as sweet and zingy as the Yellow Bird. This tropical cocktail, famous for its canary-yellow appearance, features a mixture of light rum, anise-flavored liqueur, creme de banana, orange, and pineapple juice.
Some iterations of this juicy drink feature apricot brandy in place of the anise-flavored liqueur.
All of the components are blended together and poured over ice, typically, into a highball glass, and garnished with a slice of orange and a cherry.
This bubblegum-pink cocktail pays homage to The Bahamas’ glowing three-mile Pink Sands Beach on Eleuthera’s Harbour Island.
You don’t have to be on this exact shore to drink a Pink Sands cocktail, though. Sip one in any of the beaches around Nassau, such as Cable Beach.
Its recipe includes Red Turtle vodka, made at Nassau’s John Watling’s Distillery, orange liqueur, guava syrup, coconut water, lime juice, and grenadine, which combined give Pink Sands its rosy glow.
Drinks in The Bahamas tend to run on the theme of rum, with rum punch being a source of pride in the region. This failsafe cocktail involves light rum, coconut rum, Campari, orange juice, and pineapple juice, though you’ll find tweaks to the ingredients from bar to bar.
To make this refreshing and often potent drink, all of the ingredients are mixed together and poured over ice.
Sip on a Rum Punch at one of The Bahamas’ many beach hut bars. Tiki Bikini Hut on Junkanoo Beach, Nassau, is a popular spot for its laid-back vibe and central location.
Order a side of cracked conch or fried fish between warm sea swims and sunbathing on the creamy sand to accompany this iconic Bahamas drink.
Immortalized in cheery pop music, this sweet-tasting cocktail was invented on the nearby island of Puerto Rico, though it’s no less of a popular drink in The Bahamas.
Sipping on a creamy Piña Colada—made up of light rum, cream of coconut, pineapple juice, and ice—on a dreamy beach is a rite of passage for cocktail aficionados.
For a virgin take on this popular tropical drink, leave out the rum. Some bartenders use a blender to crush the ice and create more of a thick slushie texture.
Pirate Republic Brewing Co. Beer
Pirate Republic Brewing Co. on Woodes Rodgers Walk is Nassau’s only craft beer producer and a standout Caribbean microbrewery.
The brewery offers five core beers, each one labeled with the Pirate Republic logo of a skull and cross bottles, a playful take on the traditional skull and crossbones.
There are five permanent drinks and a series of one-offs in the line’s collection. Take No Quarter is an American-style IPA, a nectar-hued drink with a satisfying tangerine, blackberry, and pepper aroma. Black Beer’d Stout is a rich malt-based ale with notes of coffee and dark chocolate.
With its subtly spicy undertones and notes of grapefruit, pine, and citrus, the Island Pirate Ale is a delicious Indian Pale Ale. Czech Saaz hops help to create the line’s Long John Pilsner’s light and refreshing European-style lager, while Gold & Haze of Piracy is a lively Belgian white beer with a citrusy finish.
Stop by Pirate Republic Brewing Co.’s Tap Room to taste the range of delicious ales alongside a menu of conch fritters, cracked conch slider (like a thick, deep fried chicken slider, but with conch meat) chicken wings, and loaded nachos.
Indulge in this beautifully-balanced Cuban cocktail while on vacation in The Bahamas. These Caribbean neighbors share plenty in common: idyllic shores, sleepy coastal villages, and delicious alcoholic drinks.
A Mojito combines the zesty juice of lime, fragrant mint, white rum, and sugar, muddled together, and topped up with seltzer.
Relax with this Caribbean cocktail in hand at the beach or in a bar, preferably with the beating sounds of reggae or calypso in the air.
John Watling’s Rum
If you prefer your rum without the punch, sip on this Bahamian drink, straight, at John Watling’s Distillery on Nassau’s Delancy Street.
There are four rums to choose from, each one distilled onsite at the elegant Buena Vista Estate, surrounded by sublime tropical gardens that feature a 200-year-old well.
What makes John Watling’s Rum among the best drinks in The Bahamas? These small-batch rums use hand-harvested Bahamian sugarcane molasses, which are fermented, filtered and distilled, before being aged in American White Oak Bourbon barrels.
Take a complimentary tour of the distillery to get a behind-the-scenes look at how the estate’s rum is made before sampling these Bahamian drinks.
The smooth-tasting Pale Rum is aged up to four years. With notes of citrus and herbs, it works well drunk neat or with a dash splash of seltzer and a slice of lime over ice.
John Watling’s Amber Rum is aged for three years. With a warming vanilla and walnut flavor, it’s also delicious neat, or on the rocks. The indulgent John Watling’s Single Barrel Rum is distilled in a copper pot still before being barrel-aged for six years and is perfect for sipping on its own.
There’s also the velvety John Watling’s Buena Vista Rum, which is blended before being aged for five years, giving a rich fruity aroma with notes of caramelized oak wood and nutty vanilla.
You could imbibe on rums or try John Watling’s-based cocktails at the distillery’s Red Turtle Tavern. A bottle of John Watling’s Rum also makes for a wonderful Bahamas souvenir to take home.
Bonafide Bahamian drinks usually have a story behind their name and the Goombay Smash is no exception.
This rum-based potion was created decades ago by the late Emily Cooper, or Miss Emily, at the Blue Bee Bar (known as Miss Emily’s Blue Bee Bar) in New Plymouth on Green Turtle Cay. It’s named after the Bahamian genre of music, Goombay, a lively drum-based style of song and dance.
Though the Goombay Smash’s exact recipe was never revealed, it’s thought to contain a heady mix of coconut rum, amber or dark rum, apricot brandy, and pineapple juice. The original drink has spurred plenty of variations, too, including ones with spiced rums, coconut cream, creme de banana, orange juice, and grenadine.
It’s not necessary to visit Green Turtle Cay to sample a Goombay Smash since most islands in The Bahamas—from Bimini to New Providence—serve this dazzling orange cocktail.
Enjoy it with a juicy wedge of pineapple as you feel silky-soft sand on your soles in spots such as Blue Lagoon or Saunders Beach.
The Bahamian Brewery & Beverage Co. Sands beer is one of the most popular drinks in The Bahamas and is widely available on beaches and at bars across the archipelago.
Whether you choose the Light, Pink Radler Grapefruit, or the regular variety, they’re all easy-drinking and invigorating Bahamian drinks.
Recline in a hammock or on a sun lounger on a glorious beach or stop by a relaxed bar, such as Poop Deck, between exploring Nassau’s sights, to relieve your thirst with a Sands.
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