Barbados is perhaps best known for its rum. It’s been produced here for more than 350 years, most famously by Mount Gay Distillery, established in 1703. Barbados rum is still some of the world’s finest, and visitors have a range of great opportunities to taste, appreciate and discover the ins and outs of “Barbados Water.”
- If you’re interested in seeing a working sugar plantation and learning the history behind rum production, your best bet is St. Nicholas Abbey. Rum was closely tied to the Caribbean sugar trade—centuries ago, it was part of the so-called “Triangular Trade” that also involved the capture and transportation of slaves and the shipment of molasses. Take a tour of St. Nicholas Abbey to see the house and visit the grounds. Its current owners also started an artisan rum distillery, which you can explore while you’re there.
- Mount Gay Rum offers a visitor experience that includes a tour, a film presentation, a visit to the Mount Gay bottling plant and a rum tasting.
- The Foursquare Rum Distillery is a working modern rum production facility that produces a range of spiced rums as well as Doorly’s, Rum 66, E.S.A. Field and Tommy Bahama. Visitors are invited to explore sections of the factory floor and read the placards explaining the rum-making process. Entrance is free.
- Seemingly wherever you look on Barbados, you’ll find a cozy rum shop where the locals enjoy passing an afternoon. Some also serve authentic Bajan (Barbadian) food like pudding and souse, flying fish and macaroni pie. Visiting a rum shop is the best way to get a sense of what Barbados rum really means to people today.
While you’re at it, have you tried pouring a splash of rum over ice cream? Don’t go overboard (yes, that becomes a sailing pun in light of rum’s history with the British Navy), but it’s a fun way to spice up your dessert island-side.