Barbados Day Dreaming

by James Stevenson

While sitting in our “Office”, a coffee shop in Natalie’s hometown, just outside of Asheville, North Carolina, awaiting the predicted blizzard to chill us to our core, I thought I would reminisce about the warmth of Barbados and our recent adventure with Mount Gay Rums. We have visited a number of rum distilleries in our years running Beautiful Booze, yet this was our first experience on the Caribbean Islands and what a great place to start.

Barbados is such an amazing place, filled with wonderful people and beautiful scenery at every corner. It didn’t hurt that we were staying at one of the most beautiful hotels on the island, the Sandpiper Hotel, where we were greeted with our first of many Rum Punches, a tradition on the island. We weren’t here to simply sit back and enjoy the wonderful scenery though, unfortunately, and our adventure began with an exploration into the core of the island, literally. Barbadians believe that one of the major components that make their rums the best in the world is the naturally filtered waters that run through the island.

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Of course, we had to see it for ourselves, so we entered Harrison’s Caves, a crystallized, limestone cave that was discovered at the heart of the island. The caves were frequently explored by very courageous adventurers throughout the 18th and 19th centuries, however in 1981, the caves officially opened for tourists to explore. As we delved deeper and deeper into the heart of the island our guide explained how the natural limestone naturally filters the waters from the surface, removing the harsher elements and leaving behind pure, unique filtered water that is used by the rum companies on the island.

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We made the journey up to Cherry Tree Hill, an iconic lookout on Barbados, and took in the absolutely wonderful landscape before us. I think we spent 10 minutes so everyone could get a great photo, then just take it in and enjoy the beauty before us for a minute. Then it was off to lunch at The Fish Pot, for some more Rum Punch and an absolutely delicious lunch in one of the most beautiful locations you can imagine. We dined on local fresh seafood while taking in the scenery around us, with wonderful views of the water lapping at the beach right next to our table (almost).

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After a brief rest and a leisurely dip in the ocean, we finished off the day in true style, with dinner aboard a Seaduced luxury catamaran. We initially cruised north, tracing our way along the beautiful coastline of Barbados while sipping Mount Gay Rum and celebrating new friends with a few glasses of bubbles. Time flew by and we were soon at anchor and the captain asked us to join him on the main deck where we enjoyed even more local cuisine served by the wonderful staff. Sitting on a catamaran anchored off the coast of Barbados, enjoying local rum and great company is exactly how I want to spend the rest of my life.

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The evening was far from over, though with night closing in, the captain returned us to shore and left us in the more than capable hands of Chesterfield Browne. Chester promised us a true rum experience in Barbados and instead of taking us to one of the many beautiful hotels and bars on the island for a rum tasting, he led us to his local watering hole, a rum shop as they are referred to on the island, for a nightcap. John Moore Bar was an awesome experience and because Black Barrel is the most popular rum on the island, they were unfortunately out of stock so we ended up drinking Mount Gay XO with ginger ale and some local beers; oh, and some more Rum Punch, obviously.

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With the “fun” over with, it was time to get serious and actually learn about Mount Gay and other Barbados rums. Keep tuned for my next article where I am going to try to get a little more technical. Though if you are impatient, Cocktail Wonk has written this ridiculously in-depth Barbados Rum Cheat Sheet.

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