10 Best Rum Distilleries in the Caribbean

10 Best Rum Distilleries in the Caribbean

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Let’s face it, nothing pairs better with a white sand beach than a refreshing rum cocktail, which is perfect for kicking back and soaking up the postcard-perfect views and listening to the sounds of the ocean. But where does the world’s best rum get produced? They say the best way to sample a spirit is to go to the source, so pack your bags and head to these top rum distilleries for a true taste of the Caribbean and learn how they turn sugarcane into some of the best-tasting liquor in the world.

1

Casa Bacardí, Puerto Rico

Feeling Tropical

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Most rum drinkers are familiar with the iconic brand Bacardi, which got its start in Cuba more than a hundred years ago but moved to Puerto Rico in 1936. Casa Bacardi is a huge factory building only 20 minutes from San Juan that hosts tours six days a week. Inside you’ll discover a variety of informative and entertaining tours, including a historical tour, rum tasting tour, mixology class and a chance to bottle your own Bacardi. Not only will you get insight on the traditional methods of making Bacardi, but you’ll also get hands-on experience with shakers, jiggers, mint and more to create the perfect mojito, daiquiri and rum & cola.

What’s Nearby: Relax at the rooftop pool at AC Hotel by Marriott San Juan Condado, which is just minutes from the picturesque Condado Beach. Or, combine your distillery visit with a stop at San Felipe Del Morro Castle, where you explore ancient forts with 500 years of history.

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2

Cayman Spirits Company Distillery, Cayman Islands

Sitting between the Owen Roberts International Airport and the coast in George Town, Cayman Spirits Company Distillery is a perfect first stop on your exploration of the Cayman Islands. It’s the country’s only distillery and is known for ocean aging, a traditional West Indies technique where they pack the rum in fine white oak barrels and then anchor it 42 feet below the surface to create a unique flavor. Get a behind-the-scenes look at their unique approach and at their 1,200 gallon Vendome copper pot still, 30-foot-tall Gun Bay Vodka tower and original Christian Carl pot. End the tour in the tasting room for a chance to sample fresh batches of Seven Fathoms Rum, Gun Bay Vodka and Governor’s Reserve Rum.

What’s Nearby: If you have a sweet tooth, the Tortuga Rum Company is just a five-minute walk away, offering a variety of rum cake flavors like pineapple, walnut, banana and chocolate that are hand-glazed with their famous Gold Rum.

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3

John Watling's, Bahamas

John Watling’s Distillery is a younger distillery in New Providence located just three minutes walking from the National Art Museum. Visit the historic estate, founded in 1789, on a complimentary guided tour to learn how Caribbean sugar cane is fermented into two spirits, Firewater and Kill-Devil. Enjoy sipping signature Bahamian cocktails at its Red Turtle Tavern overlooking the harbor.

What’s Nearby: After the tour, satisfy your sweet tooth at nearby Bahamas Rum Cake Factory, browse for handicrafts at the Nassau Straw Market or marvel at the historic Queen’s Staircase.

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4

St. Nicholas Abbey, Barbados

Delicious rum awaits 🍹

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During the 1650s, the people of Barbados began distilling the very first barrels of rum. St. Nicholas Abbey was built in 1658 and is one of only three Jacobean-style mansions left in the Western Hemisphere. Tour this historic landmark to learn about its famous honey-colored Annabelle rum, made from molasses and aged in old bourbon barrels.

What’s Nearby: You’re spoiled for choice with nearby beachfront hotels, as Mango Bay Hotel and Fairmont Royal Pavilion are both just a 20-minute drive to St. Nicholas Abbey. Need to stretch your legs? Add a visit to Farley Hill National Park to see a mansion tucked away in a forest of mahogany trees.

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5

Appleton Estate, Jamaica

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Jamaica’s largest and oldest distillery, Appleton Estate produced its first batch of rum in 1749. Come and tour this historic facility in Nassau Valley and learn how 17 varieties of rum are produced on its 11,000-acre estate through eco-friendly distilling. You can even get hands-on with the distilling process by helping to juice the cane and boil the “wet sugar.” Afterward, make sure to sample its 50-year-old barrel-aged rum, the oldest in the world. Experience its smooth, savory flavors of oak and vanilla fused together with cinnamon, maple and orange peel.

What’s Nearby: Wrap up your visit with cocktails and authentic Jamaican dishes at the Black River Lounge and pick up Appleton Estate products and souvenirs at its on-site shop.

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6

River Antoine Rum Distillery, Grenada

Take a one-hour scenic drive from St. George’s to River Antoine Rum Distillery, where rum has been produced since 1785. Behind-the-scenes tours offer insight into the centuries-old distillery techniques, including a water-powered wheel to crush the sugar cane. Watch the traditional cooking, fermenting and distilling methods in action, then indulge in a rum tasting with four different rums. Up for a challenge? Sip the 150 over-proof River Antoine Royal Grenadian Rum that’s so strong that you can’t take it on the plane!

What’s Nearby: The distillery is less than a 10-minute drive to Belmont Estate, a 300-year-old working plantation that offers cocoa tours and an on-site museum.

7

Distillerie J.M., Martinique

One of the oldest and most beautiful distilleries on Martinique, Distillerie J.M. dates back to 1790. It was founded in Le Macouba at the base of Mount Pelee, which is an active volcano on the northern tip of the island. Take a tour to learn how the rum is made with estate-grown sugarcane during harvest time from January to June. Then, see its array of high-tech exhibits and enjoy a complimentary tasting.

What’s Nearby: The distillery is located just an hour’s drive from the secluded black sand beaches at Anse Couleuvre, hiking trails along Mount Pelee and exotic plants and treetop walkways at Jardin de Balata.

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8

The Cadushy Distillery, Bonaire

If you’ve never tried drinking a cactus, the Cadushy Distillery will help you tick it off your bucket list. Bonaire’s first and only distillery, they produce not only rum but also cactus vodka, tequila and the first Caribbean whiskey. A visit to the visitor center offers you the chance to learn how the products are made and meet the Master Distiller and team. Kick back in the hammocks set up in the open-air courtyard surrounded by ancient Calbas trees and local Lora parrots, then sample The Spirit of Bonaire, Captain Don, Rincón, Kaomati and of course the Kadushi cactus.

What’s Nearby: Washington Slagbaai National Park and its hidden beaches and tide pools are less than a 10-minute drive away. Plus, you’re just 20 minutes from Kralendijk, the colorful capital city dotted with waterfront eateries, museums and shops.

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9

Hampden Estate, Jamaica

Sign up for a two-hour tour of the renowned Hampden Estate in Jamaica to journey into the heart of the working distillery that dates back to 1753. You’ll learn about its 260-year-old rum making process by seeing the fermentation room and copper stills, then enjoy a sample of their award-winning Rum Fire and Hampden Gold rums. After the tour, wander around the picturesque grounds surrounding the Hampden Great House and enjoy a complimentary lunch.

What’s Nearby: The Hampden Sugar Estate is less than an hour’s drive from Montego Bay, where you can soak up the sunshine at Doctor’s Cave Beach. It’s surroundedd by crystal-clear water and white sand an has been one of the most famous beaches in Jamaica for nearly a century.

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10

Topper’s Rhum Distillery, Sint Maarten

See the rum-making and bottling process first-hand at Topper’s Rhum Distillery in Sint Maarten. Walk through the 6,000-square-foot facility and marvel at the unique blending process and lab where they create their different flavors. For many, the best part of the tour is at the end when you’ll be invited to sample all of their artisanal products and possibly a new flavor in development. Skip the boring magnet souvenirs, at this distillery you’ll have the chance to bottle your own Topper’s Rhum to take home with you.

What’s Nearby: The Dutch capital of Sint Maarten, Philipsburg is just a 15-minute drive away, where you can stroll the lively streets and explore the shopping district and waterfront boardwalk. Loterie Farm is also nearby, luring water enthusiasts in with its pooL, cabanas and waterfalls.

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