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Caribbean rum

Your Favorite Island May Just Depend on How You Like Your Cocktail

In the world of spirits – where there are strict requirements for aging reposado tequila, regulated standards for Scotch whisky and Kentucky bourbon, and minimum alcohol levels for vodka – rum is a true rebel. Rum maintains its own laws, which vary among the more than 40 countries in which it is produced, with several different types boasting tremendously different flavor profiles. Most rum is produced from molasses, resulting in the sweet essence and caramel color of many. Lighter rums may be produced from sugar cane (pre-molasses stage), which results in a clean spirit of near-neutral strength (95 percent or higher alcohol by volume.) However, even the type of sugar cane used can vary and alter the end product depending on the place of a rum’s origin.

In the Caribbean, where beachy cocktails adorned with tiny umbrellas pair perfectly with island sunsets, rum reigns supreme. The rules surrounding rum may be a bit fast and loose, but here, it’s serious business, and a seriously delicious glimpse into the style of each island. As with cuisine, each destination has its own take on the “best” rum, which is, of course, a matter of taste.

In Puerto Rico you’ll find light rum with a smooth finish, perfect for the island’s national drink, the piña colada. Jamaica serves up bigger, richer, darker rums, heavy in molasses flavor and presence and often – affectionately – referred to as “funky.” Bajan rum in Barbados is a middle ground between the two, but certainly does not compromise on character. You’ll get notes of the oak in which it’s aged, a bit of spice and a nice balance of sugars.

Aboard Crystal ships, you can explore them all, ideally while also exploring the island paradises that complement them so well. Our very own barkeepers are sharing some of their favorite rum cocktails below, along with a beginner’s guide to discerning your favorite.

White Rum – Light, clear flavor, usually aged briefly and often filtered; great for cocktails

Gold Rum – Aged in oak barrels for a more complex taste, but still great for mixing in certain cocktails

Dark Rum – Longer aging periods mean fuller, bolder flavors of caramel and contrast; excellent sipping

Demerara Rum – Made from sugar cane from Guyana, this is a throwback to the old-time process of distillation, with darker flavors similar to Jamaican rum.

Classic Mai Tai

0.75oz Mount Gay Eclipse
0.75oz Appleton VX
0.25oz Orange Curacao
0.50oz Almond Syrup
0.50oz Simple Syrup
2 x ½ pressed Lime Juice

Shake well & strain into glass with fresh ice. Garnish with a lime wheel, pineapple spear and mint sprig.

Cuba Libre

2.00oz Bacardi Carta Blanca
Squeeze of fresh lime
Top up with Coca-Cola

Bacarazz Martini

3.00oz Bacardi Razz
3-5 Fresh Raspberries
Splash Cranberry Juice

Muddle the fresh raspberries, add other ingredients and shake with ice until cold. Strain into chilled glass and garnish with a fresh raspberry on pick.


2.00oz Havana Club Añejo 3 years old
1.25oz sugar syrup
1 pressed fresh lime juice
12-14 mint leaves
Soda water

In a highball glass muddle the mint leaves, Lime juice & sugar syrup. Add crushed ice & rum then top with soda water. Gently stir and garnish with a mint sprig and paper straw.

Rum Runner

1.50oz Bacardi White
0.25oz Chambord
0.25oz Myers Dark Rum
2.00oz Pineapple Juice
1.00oz Fresh Lemon Sour
Dash Angostura Bitters

Shake with ice and strain over fresh ice into a highball or tropical drink glass, top with the Myers Rum which will sit on the top of the drink. Garnish with pineapple spear and cherry.

Explore the signature rum styles of destinations featured on Crystal Serenity’s new Simply the Best Caribbean itineraries, which offer October, November and December departures with reduced deposits and fares, as well as shipboard credits. Book now and escape to the islands.

Crystal@Home: A Virtual Cruise Experience program brings several elements of the renowned Crystal Experience directly to guests, wherever in the world they are.

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