Virgin Islands Rum
Pristine beaches, pearl white sand, blue and turquoise waters, great snorkeling, historic buildings and ruins, nature trails, exotic food and RUM! That’s what you think of when you imagine the virgin Islands, but did you know that RUM is our biggest export? We’re not talking repackaged bottles shipped in from elsewhere and just labeled here. We’re talking locally made rum–in all flavors! In fact, rum and its manufacture is an integral part of the history and commerce of the Virgin Islands and its people.
The colonizers of the Virgin Islands build plantations on most of the islands for staple food; one of which was sugar. You can still see the plantation ruins today, as the Virgin Islands are dotted with spectacular ruins of more than a hundred sugar plantations. All of them were made for the production of sugar, molasses and of course, rum.
A few distilleries have survived through the centuries and one them is The Cruzan Rum Distillery, which was founded in 1760. On your next trip to the United States Virgin Islands, step back in time and take a tour in their centuries old distillery in St. Croix and see for yourself how rum is actually made. You won’t have any problem finding the distillery, because the delicious smell of rum wafts along the warm Caribbean breeze–just follow your nose! Cruzan is considered one of the best quality rums in the world. Did you know that Cruzan rum ages in oak barrels for at least two years–some as long as twelve years–before its diluted with St. Croix rainwater and filtered for drinking.
Because rum is made right here in the Virgin Islands, it’s incredibly inexpensive–about half of what it costs in the states, so visitors are encouraged to stock up and take rum back to the states with you–duty free!
The access to different types of rum makes it easy for locals to experiment with their own cocktail mixes and bring them to perfection. The most famous Virgin Islands cocktail is the Painkiller, which is made by frothing a mixture of dark rum, orange and pineapple juices, sweetened coconut cream, and shaved ice – all topped with grated nutmeg. When on Jost Van Dyke in the British Virgin Islands, stop at the Soggy Dollar, where the Painkiller was originally invented, and taste one, or two, for yourself!
Aside from rum, there is another drink that you definitely want to try when in the Virgin Islands – the Guavaberry liqueur. This drink is a combination of guavaberry, a close relative of clover and eucalyptus, rum and sugarcane. It’s sweet and fruity taste is one reason why many people use it in mixed drinks. It makes one heck of a colada!
The powdery soft white sand, crystal clear water, warm sun, and the gentle hum of the island paradise is especially enjoyed with a drink including locally made rum in your hand, while relaxing on a hammock set between two coconut palms. On your next trip to the Virgin Islands make sure that you partake in the islands popular spirits!