5 of the Best Cocktails (and Mocktails) of the Caribbean
Who doesn’t long for the flavors of vacation … perfectly seared seafood, delicious street tacos, baguettes and cheese. When it comes to the tastes we remember from our travels, refreshing tropical cocktails (best enjoyed in front of a glorious sunset) top the list of indulgences you’d like to bring home with you.
So why not bring these tropical libations to your next cocktail party, backyard barbecue or book club (after all, they go perfect with juicy summer reads)? We’ve listed five of our favorites from five different Caribbean islands, each with a non-alcoholic option. Whichever tipple tantalizes your taste buds, we hope it helps you relive vacation memories … and inspires you to plan another!
Island: St. Lucia
Fun Fact: St. Lucia is the only nation in the world named after a woman.
Cocktail: St. Lucian Rum Punch
What sets the St. Lucian Rum Punch apart from its island cousins is its incredible sunset color, achieved by a steady pour of grenadine. It’s best with locally produced Chairman’s Reserve Rum, but any rum will do. Here’s how to make it at home:
3 cups orange juice, 3 cups pineapple juice
1 cup lime juice, grenadine syrup
pinch of cinnamon, pinch of nutmeg
6 shakes angostura bitters
2 1/2 cups dark or light rum
1/4 cups simple syrup
Mix ingredients in a pitcher and add grenadine until the beverage turns the color of a Caribbean sunset. Refrigerate for a minimum of a few hours (max. overnight) and then serve over ice.
Garnish: Pineapple, orange. (Serves 10 - 12)
(Recipe Source: One Lucian News)
Nonalcoholic Rum Punch:
14 oz. papaya
1 1/2 cups mango juice
1 1/2 cups guava juice/nectar
3/4 cup passionfruit juice
1/3 cup lime juice
1/4 cup sugar
In a small saucepan, combine lime juice and sugar. Cook on low heat for a few minutes until the sugar is melted. In a blender, combine papaya, mango juice, guava juice, passionfruit juice and lime/sugar combination. Blend until smooth and thoroughly combined. Chill and serve over ice.
Garnish: Papaya slices. (Serves 5)
(Recipe Source: Global Kitchen Travels)
Fun Fact: Curacao is one of the most colorful Caribbean islands, with riotous, bright, contrasting colors adorning most of the Dutch colonial architecture.
Cocktail: Blue Lagoon
“Everything is dushi” in Curacao. Translation: Everything is sweet, delicious, lovely, so very fine. See for yourself just how apropos this word from the local Papiamento language is when you sip your first Blue Lagoon. Here’s how to make it at home:
1 oz. vodka
1 oz. Blue Curaçao
4 oz. lemonade
Add all the ingredients save for the fruit (vodka, Blue Curacao and lemonade) into a shaker, add ice and shake. Afterward, strain the liquid into a hurricane glass over crushed ice.
Garnish: Orange wheel, lemon wheel (optional), maraschino cherry. (Serves 1)
(Recipe Source: Liquor.com)
Nonalcoholic Blue Lagoon:
1/2 teaspoon blue spirulina
1 cup sugar-free/low-sugar lemonade
1 shot of your favorite alcohol-free spirit
Garnish of your choice
Place the blue spirulina in your glass, then add the lemonade. Stir gently. You might find the drink foams up a bit as the 2 ingredients react with each other, so just scoop the foam out. Add your alcohol-free spirit, if using, and stir again. Add ice, garnish, and serve.
Garnish: Your choice (Serves 1)
(Recipe Source: Mindful Mocktail)
Island: The Bahamas
Fun Fact: If your favorite cocktail looks more like a glass of wine, you’re in luck. The world’s third-largest wine cellar is in Nassau, at Graycliff.
Cocktail: Bahama Mama
Keep blending your Bahama Mama … keep blending … until it's nice and slushy. This frothy concoction is the perfect mid-afternoon refreshment. Here’s how to make it at home:
1/2 fluid ounce rum
1/2 fluid ounce coconut-flavored rum
1/2 fluid ounce grenadine syrup
1 fluid ounce orange juice
1 fluid ounce pineapple juice
1 cup crushed ice
Mix the rum and the coconut-rum with the orange juice, pineapple juice and grenadine alongside crushed ice in an electric blender. (Serves 1)
(Recipe source: AllRecipes)
Nonalcoholic Bahama Mama:
2 cups orange juice
2 cups pineapple juice 8
2 cups grapefruit juice
3 oz. grenadine (3 ounces)
2.5 oz maraschino cherries (2.5 ounces)
½ -liter Sprite
Mix all ingredients, except for cherries, in a small- to medium-size punch bowl. (The more grapefruit juice you add, the more sour the punch will be.) (Recipe Source: Food.com)
Island: Antigua and Barbuda
Fun Fact: The Twin Islands have a lot of siblings: The nation of Antigua and Barbuda actually comprises 46 islands and islets.
Cocktail: Antigua Smile
The sight of not just one, but two (or 46!) gorgeous Caribbean islands is sure to make anyone smile - sip one of these while you’re in the Twin Islands of Antigua and Barbuda and you’ll be in seventh heaven. Here's how to make it at home:
1 ½ oz. dark rum
1-oz. crème de banana
1½ oz. pineapple juice
½ oz. sour mix
Take 1.5 ounces of dark rum, 1 ounce of crème de banana, and 1 ounce of fresh pineapple juice and half an ounce of sour mix and shake all ingredients together with crushed ice. Afterward, pour in a tumbler and garnish with mango and pineapple wedges.
Garnish: Mango wedge. (Serves 1)
(Recipe source: Caribbean Journal)
Nonalcoholic Antigua Smile:
Sub water, white grape juice, pineapple juice, apple juice or apple cider or almond extra syrup for the dark rum.
Fun Fact: Grenada is home to the world’s first underwater sculpture park, 65 human sculptures viewed by snorkeling, scuba diving or aboard a glass-bottomed boat.
Cocktail: Calabash Cocktail
The Caribbean’s best-kept secret, the Spice Island of Grenada, has another trick up its sleeve: the delightful Calabash Cocktail. Best with home-grown River Antoine rum, but perfectly palatable with any rum of your choosing, here’s how to make it at home:
Grenadian nutmeg syrup
Lime juice, freshly squeezed
Spoonful of caster sugar
Mix the white rum with the Grenadian nutmeg syrup together with the fresh-squeezed lime juice. Add a spoonful of caster sugar and a bit of Blue Curacao for color. Top it all off with nutmeg.
(Recipe source: Club Caribbee)
Nonalcoholic Calabash Cocktail:
Sub water, white grape juice, pineapple juice, apple juice or apple cider or almond extra syrup for the white rum.
Fun Fact: Belize boasts some of the Caribbean’s best dive sites, including the second-biggest barrier reef in the world, which spans the length of the country.
Cocktail: Espanto Wave
Straight from the luxury isle of Cayo Espanto, three miles off the coast of Belize, this dreamy cocktail is as beautiful to look at as it is refreshing. Here’s how to make it at home:
1 oz. Captain Morgan Rum
0.5 oz. Blue Curacao Liquor
0.3 oz. Amaretto
0.5 oz of Triple Sec
1 oz. of pineapple squash
1 oz. of lime juice
1 tablespoon sugar, ice cubes
Gather up all of the ingredients, and blend the rum, Blue Curacao, Amaretto, Triple Sec, lime juice, pineapple squash and sugar into a frozen concoction. Then pour a glass and enjoy the fruits of your labor.
(Recipe source: Cayo Espanto)
Nonalcoholic Dominican Republic Mocktail: Morir Soñando
While the Espanto Wave may be a bit difficult to convert to a mocktail, there’s another DR tradition that we think you’ll enjoy if you’re veering clear of alcohol. Try the Morir soñando, prepared with a combination of orange juice, cane sugar, milk and crushed ice. Mix the milk and sugar first to dissolve the sugar. Refrigerate that combination, then when chilled, add orange juice and ice.
Ready to try these cocktails the way they’re meant to be enjoyed, under an umbrella on a white-sand beach in front of an endless turquoise sea? Let’s chat!