Head to the idyllic Caribbean islands for the ultimate tropical paradise where white sands, turquoise seas, sunshine, and incredible Caribbean rum awaits. There’s nothing quite like relaxing on the beach with a refreshing cocktail in hand, clear turquoise waters softly lapping at your feet.
These gorgeous islands are known for producing fantastic rum, which has a fascinating history and deep cultural ties to each island nation. For true rum enthusiasts, vacationing in the Caribbean is a dream, with a wide array of distilleries to visit and exciting tours and tastings to enjoy.
Whether you’re interested in learning about the history and production of this famous spirit, tasting aged, rare, and flavored varieties, or just purchasing a duty-free souvenir, discovering the world of Caribbean rum can be exciting for everyone.
Mount Gay Visitors Centre, Barbados
The Eastern Caribbean island of Barbados is hailed as the birthplace of rum, producing the popular spirit at the resident Mount Gay Distillery for more than 300 years. Tour the Mount Gay Headquarters, where you can learn about the oldest continuously running distillery in the world.
As you venture through the property, you’ll see the molasses, fermentation, and distillation houses, as well as the original well, while your guide shares the step-by-step process and ingredients used in creating this famous rum.
After touring the facility, embark on a tasting to uncover your favorite variety. Sample a flight of rum, including Mount Gay’s signature, premium, and exclusive rums. Or try authentic rum punch, the most popular cocktail in Bajan culture, a refreshing blend of rum, simple syrup, lime juice, and bitters with a splash of water or passion fruit juice and nutmeg.
If you’re interested in learning how to craft your own cocktails, workshops are available at the distillery too, making for a memorable afternoon.
Neisson Distillery, Martinique
On the idyllic island of Martinique in the Caribbean’s Lesser Antilles, you’ll find a family-run distillery that produces high-quality rums, well-loved by locals and visitors alike. Venture to the village of Carbet on the northwestern part of the island to visit a small, traditional operation with exceptional rum at the forefront.
Run by the daughter and grandson of the distillery founder, Hildevert Pamphille Neisson, this rum producer is known for its unique, hand-painted bottle design as well as its artisanal rum.
Get a taste of the French Caribbean at this award-winning distillery where the rum has been processed from pure sugar cane juice since the distillery opened in the early 1930s. Try their speciality, “rhum extra-vieux” (meaning vintage rum), as you learn about the company’s history and authentic methods like hand-cutting the sugar cane.
After discovering your favorite variety, purchase a bottle to bring home as the perfect souvenir of your time in beautiful Martinique.
Captain Morgan Visitor Center, St. Croix
Discover one of the best-known rums in the world while visiting St. Croix, one of the jewels of the US Virgin Islands. Captain Morgan is named after the legendary captain, Sir Henry Morgan, a pirate who set sail from Wales to the West Indies and eventually became Governor of Jamaica.
Learn about the history of this distillery, the craft of creating the rum, and the story behind the famous tagline, “Variety Is The Spice Of Life,” while touring this exciting distillery. Gain a new perspective on the swashbuckling personality that was “The Captain”.
The 40-minute tour includes an interactive exhibit, observation of the production process, a lesson in mixology, and a tasting in the on-site tavern. Take a seat in the pirate-themed bar area, where you can enjoy a rum cocktail of your choice; the distillery makes original spiced rum, white rum, and Jamaican rum.
Be sure to stop in the gift shop as well if you’re in search of a souvenir; glassware, hats, t-shirts and more are available for purchase as a token of your time spent in St. Croix’s famous distillery.
Tortuga Rum Centre, Grand Cayman
Discover the flavors of Grand Cayman with a visit to the Tortuga Rum Centre in the capital city of Georgetown. Opened in 1984, this rum factory is a favorite destination for learning about the history of rum and the production process, with tastings of both the rum and the famous Tortuga Original Rum Cake.
Starting as a small kitchen operation, Tortuga Rum has grown into a thriving business, partly thanks to these delectable cakes, made from a recipe that’s been handed down through four generations. The cakes are so popular, in fact, that they’re one of the biggest exports from Grand Cayman.
Savor the buttery flavor of this sweet treat, with the crunch of walnuts inside and the hand-glazed Tortuga Gold Rum on the outside, or try the Jamaican Rum Cake, dark with rum-soaked fruits.
Casa Bacardi, Puerto Rico
Visit Puerto Rico’s most famous distillery, located just across the bay from the colonial center of Old San Juan. Casa Bacardi is accessible by car or ferry and offers an informative historical tour, rum tastings, and mixology classes.
An open-air waterfront pavilion is the perfect place to sip a welcome drink before embarking on a tour of the distillery, where you’ll learn about the production of this award-winning spirit.
On the tasting tour, you’ll have the opportunity to visit the Bacardi Family Museum and then sample some of the distillery’s premium rums such as the Casa Bacardi Special Reserve, rich in vanilla, almond, hazelnut and butterscotch, and the Bacardi Reserva Ocho. There’s even a chocolate pairing while you decide on your favorite variety.
Indulge in an interactive mixology class where you’ll learn to craft cocktails like a professional, using the distillery’s high-quality Bacardi rum. Or treat yourself to the special experience of bottling your own rum. Your bottle is sealed with Bacardi’s signature red wax and personalized with your name.
River Antoine Rum Distillery, Grenada
Discover the island of Grenada, otherwise referred to as the “Spice Isle” where beautiful beaches, lush scenery, and the oldest functioning water wheel-propelled distillery in the Caribbean await. Located on the northeastern region of the island, the River Antoine Rum Distillery has been producing fine rums since 1785.
Embark on a tour, where knowledgeable guides share how the rum is made, detailing steps from the sugar cane harvest through when the spirit is bottled up for selling. The whole process is almost exactly the same as it was hundreds of years ago.
You’ll see the ancient water wheel used to crush the locally grown sugar cane, powered by the River Antoine. Afterward, try the notoriously strong Rivers rum; at more than 79 percent proof, it’s not for the faint hearted. A less potent brew is available in the gift shop, including a read-mixed Royale Grenadian Rum Punch.
Read: What to Eat in Grenada
The Explorer Boat, St. Maarten
Take to the sea for the ultimate unique rum tasting in true Caribbean fashion. Hop on board a double-decker Explorer Boat in the pretty port of Marigot, located on the French side of St. Maarten. This scenic boat tour offers a fun-packed rum tasting experience accompanied by live music and beautiful coastal scenery.
Sip locally made rums like Topper’s Rhum, and the famous Guavaberry rum, the national liquor of St. Maarten. Enjoy the sea breeze as you glide along the waters and take in the island views from a different vantage point; and save time to explore the chic French stores and patisseries of the town after your cruise.
St. Vincent Distillers, St. Vincent
Head to lush St. Vincent in the Grenadines for sun, sand, and excellent rum. Originally known as the Mt. Bentinck Distillery, this popular distillery produces a wide array of award-winning rums and is also known for its delicious, read-bottled Sunset Rum Punch.
Perched at the base of the forested La Soufrière volcano, this distillery produces a fine example of authentic Caribbean rum, aged in bourbon oak barrels. Tours are by appointment only, and will have you exploring the distillery and sampling the range of delicious rums.
Try the smooth flagship Captain Bligh XO, and the golden Sparrow’s Premium Aged Rum, with a hint of molasses. Go easy on the Sunset Very Strong Rum, as it’s 84.5 per cent proof, best sampled in a cocktail or with a lot of mixer. Or invest in a bottle of fruity Sunset Rum Punch that will transport you immediately back to the balmy Caribbean when you open it back home.
Rum Distillery of St. Pierre / Distillerie Depaz, Martinique
Uncover the historic Depaz Distillery near the northwest coast of Martinique in the Saint-Pierre district, perched in the midst of rippling fields of blue sugarcane, unique to the region and distilled here since 1651.
The distillery was rebuilt in 1917 after the devastating eruption of Mont Pelée, the volcano that looms over the area. The family’s son Victor, who was studying in France at the time of the eruption, was the lone survivor of the Depz dynasty and restarted the family business with tradition and sustainability at the heart of the operation.
Just before arriving at the distillery, make sure to take in the incredible views of the towering Mont Pelée. Enjoy a self-guided distillery tour, where you’ll learn about the rum production methods, the equipment used, and the dramatic history of the island.
Admire the impressive 16th century mansion, Chateau Depaz, that served as the family Great House and was rebuilt by Victor Depaz after the volcanic eruption. After touring this very grand property, stop into the tasting room for samples of Distillerie Depaz rums, a wide assortment ranging from flavored to aged and rare rums. A box of four miniatures is a great gift to take home as a reminder of your visit to this serene spot.
Clarke’s Court Rum Distillery / Grenada Distillers Limited, Grenada
The “Spice Isle” of Grenada is known for its fine rum distilleries. Venture to the Parish of St. George in the south of the island to discover one of the most celebrated distilleries, Clarke’s Court Rum Distillery, a brand of Grenada Distillers Limited. This historical production site has been making rum since the 1930s and is the largest distillery on the island of Grenada.
Touring the facility is one of the best things to do in Grenada, where you’ll learn about the distilling process from beginning to end, including how the rum is aged and bottled. You’ll see historic steam engines that date back to the late 1800s, a key element of rum production.
Afterwards, taste the rums at the bar; some of the intriguing flavored varieties include lemon, mojito and passionfruit. Chat to the bartender about the best Caribbean cocktails to make back home using your bottle of Clarke’s Court, too.
In The Backyard Rum Shack, Antigua
Spend an afternoon tasting delicious rums on the sunny island Antigua, where there’s a beach for every day of the year. In The Backyard Rum Shack in the island’s capital city, St. John, is an iconic bar and restaurant.
The husband and wife-run establishment is a popular spot not only for tasting Antiguan rums, but also for learning about the history of the island and Caribbean rum production. Best of all, you can sample authentic Antiguan fare, each dish paired with a different variety of the famous spirit.
Sip rums like aged English Harbour and Silver Bay, perfectly paired with Caribbean specialties like jerk chicken, conch fritters, crab backs, and saltfish fritters. This classic experience is a must-do on the island of Antigua.
Read: The Ultimate Guide to Caribbean Cuisine
A luxury Caribbean cruise is an incredible way to discover the exciting realm of Caribbean rum, with visits to local distilleries and, of course, tastings.
From historical tours and rum sampling in idyllic locations, to delicious culinary pairings and souvenir shopping, there’s no limit to where your rum tasting expedition can take you. Browse itineraries and book your Caribbean getaway today.