Rum and Ting
Starting our list is an easy-to-make Jamaican favourite that can be enjoyed anytime. Pour white overproof rum over ice and add a popular local grapefruit soda called Ting.
Sticking with easy-to-make favourites, we have the perennially popular Cuba Libre. Fill a glass with ice, squeeze and drop in two lime wedges, pour a measure of Bacardi and top off with chilled cola.
The classic Christmas drink, Sorrel is a sort of tropical mulled wine equivalent. The sepals of the crimson red sorrel plant are simmered in water with pimento and grated ginger and then chilled overnight. The following day, strain the now deep red liquid, add sugar, lime and white overproof rum. Stir until the sugar dissolves and serve over ice.
Staying with the festive theme, a tropical spin on the old holiday classic is rum-based eggnog. Frankly, the only way to enjoy eggnog is to ‘spike’ it — add a decent dark rum such as Appleton’s VX and a pinch of nutmeg. Or spice it up with Captain Morgan’s Spiced Rum.
Rum Old Fashioned
If you’re going to mess with the old fashioned, then you must use a really good rum — at least a 21-year-old. Add an ice cube, a sugar cube and a teaspoon of water to a glass and stir. Follow by two dashes of bitters and stir. Add 2 oz of rum. Garnish with orange peel.
‘I drink to make other people more interesting’ said Hemingway, a man who so enjoyed the daiquiri that there is one named after him. Daiquiris come in many flavours and variations; mix your own classic Hemingway Daiquiri: take a shaker and add 2 oz white rum, ¾ oz grapefruit juice, ½ oz lime juice, ¼ oz maraschino liqueur, ¼ oz syrup. Shake and strain over crushed ice or into a chilled glass and garnish with a grapefruit twist.
Make it right and emphasise the rum — not the fruit. Oh, and ditch the paper umbrella! Fill a shaker with crushed ice, add 1 oz Jamaican rum, 1 oz rhum agricole, ½ oz orange curacao, 1 oz lime juice, ½ oz orgeat (a kind of almond syrup) and ¼ oz syrup. Shake for at least 10 seconds before tipping into a glass (don’t strain) and garnishing with mint. Serve with a straw.
Cuba has got a lot to answer for — this classic 1920s cocktail is another favourite. Use the best grenadine you can find. Fill a shaker with ice, add 1 ½ oz white rum, 1 ½ oz vermouth, a bar spoon of curacao and a dash of grenadine. Stir until chilled and strain into a chilled cocktail glass. Garnish with a twist of orange.
If you attend a party in the Caribbean, you will almost certainly be presented with rum punch. Many resort hotels will also offer one on arrival to get you in the holiday spirit. But be careful, they sneak up on you! Remember the classic recipe: one sour, two sweet, three strong, four weak. Take one cup of freshly squeezed lime juice, two cups of syrup, three cups of white overproof rum and four cups of mixed fruit juice. Mix it all together, refrigerate and serve over ice.
Make the original: fill a shaker with crushed ice, add 2 oz of dark Jamaican rum such as Appleton’s VX with 1 oz of freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice and 1 oz of passionfruit syrup. Shake and strain into a glass and garnish with orange. Maintain your credibility by avoiding the umbrella.
Dark and Stormy
Close your eyes and think of Bermuda! This refreshingly simple drink has just two ingredients. Fill a glass with ice cubes, add a dark rum (for authenticity use Gosling’s Black Seal) but a Jamaican dark rum will suffice. Top off with ginger beer and garnish with lime. Enjoy.
This is the classic vacation drink from Puerto Rico. If wandering the cobbled streets of old San Juan looking for the original piña colada isn’t convenient, then mix one up at home. Add 1.5 cups of ice to a blender with half a cup of frozen pineapple chunks, 2 oz of chilled pineapple juice, 2 oz of coconut cream, and 1 ½ oz each of white and dark rum. Blend until you have a smooth slushy texture. Pour into a glass and garnish with pineapple.
Don’t be put off by the name, this is a grown-up drink. Fill a shaker with ice, add 4 oz white rum, 4 oz grenadine, the juice of a lime and top off with club soda. Stir and strain into a glass. Garnish with maraschino cherries and a slice of lime.
The Painkiller does exactly what it says, if you stick to the recommended dose. Take a shaker and add a handful of ice cubes only. Add 2 oz dark rum, 4 oz pineapple juice and 1 oz orange juice. Then, add in 1 oz of coconut cream and shake for 10 seconds. Pour into a tall glass, add freshly grated nutmeg and garnish with lime.
Place 10 mint leaves, a slice of lime and two tablespoons of sugar in a glass and muddle to release the oils and juice. Add two more wedges of lime, stir, and fill the glass with ice then pour over 1 ½ oz of white rum. Top up with club soda and garnish with lime.
A fun way to finish off our list; this is a proper Jamaican beach drink. Blend 2 oz Tia Maria, 2 oz dark rum, 2 oz rum cream liqueur (e.g. Sangsters), 4 oz milk, 1 oz syrup and one banana with ice. Pour once thick and smooth. Sprinkle with nutmeg or allspice. Easy now.