For many travelers, nothing says “vacation” like kicking back with a glass of your favorite sipping spirit. While fine scotches or cognacs often come to mind in this category, rum has been experiencing a somewhat surprising resurgence in popularity among cocktail connoisseurs.
Some of the earliest versions of the old-fashioned were made with rum, and some Caribbean distilleries date back hundreds of years (Mount Gay’s distillery in Barbados was founded in 1703). While rum is often associated with mixed drinks and frozen concoctions like daiquiris, pina coladas, or cuba libres, many treasured Caribbean distilleries have worked tirelessly to craft delicious, aged rums that deserve to be savored on their own.
Inspirato travelers can expand their palates and get an authentic taste of the region in several Caribbean destinations, including Jamaica, Puerto Rico, the Cayman Islands, the Dominican Republic, and more. Beyond sampling the local flavors, visitors to these islands can often tour the historic distilleries and find a new appreciation for how this spirit is made. Here are some of best and most popular distillery tours.
Appleton Estate, Jamaica
Appleton Estate has been producing some of the world’s best rums for over 265 years. They credit their distinctive flavor to the estate’s unique “terroir,” a lush, fertile valley well inland from the bustling coast. The distillery offers an interactive guided tour through the Estate’s history and rum-making process, along with a guided tasting led by their in-house experts. Their Rare Blend is aged 12 years, and receives consistently high marks among rum aficionados. A visit to the Appleton Estate makes a great day trip for Inspirato travelers staying at our Pinnacle Villa home (pictured above) in Montego Bay.
Ron Barcelo, Dominican Republic
Ron Barcelo distills the most internationally-awarded rum in the Dominican Republic. You can take your mixed drinks to the next level with Ron Barcelo Gran Platinum, a premium white rum that preserves the taste of the aged rum (añejo) from which it is filtered. Meanwhile, their Gran Añejo is aged in former bourbon barrels to enrich its flavor profile. Travelers can visit the Centro Historico Ron Barcelo, which offers a tour with a five-star average rating from reviewers on TripAdvisor. Bring a bottle of your favorite back to Villa Tortuga (pictured above), or one of several other sprawling Inspirato homes located within PuntaCana Resort & Club.
Casa Bacardi, Puerto Rico
Puerto Rico is home to the world’s largest privately held, family-owned spirits company: Bacardi. Just across the bay from San Juan, Casa Bacardi has been a popular tourist destination for decades. Visitors can enjoy a historical tour, rum tasting tour, and even step behind the bar for a lesson in rum mixology. Their Superior and Gold iterations are staples for mixed drinks, but their real pride and joy is Bacardi 8 Anõs. Aged eight years to achieve its rich and complex flavor, it can easily be sipped on its own or mixed into a spirit-forward cocktail like a rum old-fashioned. Casa Bacadi is located only 30 minutes from Inspirato’s spectacular homes at Dorado Beach, and 45 minutes from Inspirato’s homes at Bahia Beach Resort and Golf Club (pictured above).
Inspirato’s on-site Destination Concierge teams can arrange a tour reservation at any of the above distilleries, including transportation so you can sample their products responsibly. So whether you’re simply looking to up your daiquiri game or interested in expanding your palette, the world of rum is just waiting to be explored—both at home and in some of the most beautiful vacation destinations you can imagine.