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Happy Hour History: 7 Caribbean Cocktails and Their Origins

From happy hour to the best beach bar, these drinks will whisk you to paradise in no time.

No tropical getaway is complete without a delicious cocktail. The drinks of the Caribbean are as varied as the islands themselves, and every hour is happy hour! These are seven of the islands’ signature beverages that will have your mouth watering and heading straight to the liquor store after work for ingredients. Better yet, hop on a plane and enjoy these Caribbean cocktails with your toes in the sand!

Bahama Mama

Just as the name suggests, this fruity concoction is a delicious drink born in the Bahamas. During prohibition, the Bahamas were an alcohol smuggling hotspot. The beverage includes two kinds of rum: the dark rum gives the cocktail a depth of flavour, and the 151 proof rum proves that just a couple of these drinks will have you feelin’ the island vibes in no time.

Mojito

A fresh, minty favorite, the mojito is a Cuban cocktail that has earned worldwide fame. Dating back to the 16th century, the drink became popular when Ernest Hemingway drank them at Le Bodeguita del Medio in Havana.

Bushwacker

The unofficial cocktail of the Virgin Islands, this “adult milkshake” is made with five different kinds of liquor that is blended with ice into a creamy, dreamy, deliciously chocolatey way to spend happy hour at the beach. Some variations include the addition of peanut butter or cookies, making this cocktail the perfect end to a tropical day.

Pina Colada

pina colada

Image via Caribe Hilton

With a name that literally means “pressed pineapple”, this Puerto Rican drink is a perennial favourite of locals and visitors alike. Mixed with coconut milk, rum and ice, you’ll be putting these delicious cocktails away faster than you can say “Bacardi”.

Blue Curacao

A liqueur named after the island it comes from, Blue Curacao offers a stunning blue hue to any cocktail it graces. Made from the peel of the laraha fruit, this distinctive liqueur lends itself for an array of beautiful beach drinks, including the Kamikaze and Blue Lagoon.

Painkiller

painkiller

Image via Travel Lushes

The name says it all: a few of these cocktails and you will feel no pain. An unofficial drink of the British Virgin Islands, this drink was originally made with Pusser’s Rum at the Soggy Dollar Bar on Jost Van Dyke. Cream of coconut and a sprinkle of nutmeg on top give this beverage a truly unique flavour that is sure to please any happy hour palate.

Rum Punch

Operating since 1703, Barbados is home to Mount Gay Rum, one of the oldest rum distilleries in the Caribbean. The island also calls one of the oldest rum punch recipes their own, and a popular rhyme helps people remember the ingredients: “One of Sour, Two of Sweet, Three of Strong, Four of Weak.” Those ingredients would be lime, sweetener (such as simple syrup), rum and water, and the cocktail is sometimes garnished with nutmeg or a splash of Angostura bitters.

Sara Sherman
Sara Sherman is a former St. Thomas resident and the editor of Virgin Islands Property & Yacht.
Sara Sherman

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