Did you know that Barbados is the birthplace of rum? The history of the Caribbean elixir dates back to the 17th century. Over the years, the Bajans refined the distilled spirit to absolute perfection. Not surprisingly, the island teems with lively rum shops and small bars with vivid exteriors, so you've got plenty of places to enjoy a cold rum cocktail or a popular Barbados rum punch. Still, the best way to cognize the iconic drink is taking a rum distillery tour.
Sugar & rum season
Even though rum is available year-round, most of the rum distillery tours run during the sugar and rum season from mid-January to mid-April. In addition to guided trips, you can also join a series of culinary and cultural activities dedicated to the shared history of sugar and rum production on the island. The options include rum cooking classes, plantation tours, a rum expo, and other special events.
Barbados rum tours
Mount Gay Rum Distillery
Mount Gay is a large rum brand in Barbados and the world's oldest continuously operating rum distillery. Bridgetown has a Mount Gay visitor center that hosts rum tastings. Yet, we recommend taking a tour of their rum-making headquarters in St. Lucy, north of the island. The famed Mount Gay Distillery, established in 1703, must be on the top of your bucket list of things to do in Barbados.
West Indies Rum Distillery
If you choose to remain in Bridgetown, there is an opportunity to join a rum tour at the lesser-known West Indies Rum Distillery. It started in the late 19th century, much later than Mount Gay Distillery, but still offers some of the best rum you can hardly find elsewhere.
St. Nicholas Abbey Rum Distillery
St. Nicholas Abbey and Steam Railway in St. Peters is an ideal destination to learn Barbados' sugar and rum production history. Originally it was a private Jacobean mansion with a sugar cane plantation dating back to the 1700s. Yet, today, the site works as a museum and rum distillery, drawing thousands of tourists annually.
If you plan on visiting St. Nicholas Abbey, note that November through March are the busiest months, and Tuesday through Thursday are the most crowded days, especially in the mornings. Weekends are quieter, but the syrup factory and distillery may be closed. Also, you can pair your St. Nicholas Abbey adventure with a visit to the nearby Morgan Lewis Windmill or sugar mill, which was constructed in 1727 and is still functional between December and April.
Foursquare Rum Distillery
Southeastern Barbados offers tours to Foursquare Rum Distillery in Four Roads, close to the airport. Unlike other famous distilleries, this one is more modern and computerized, so you'll have a somewhat different experience here. But local award-winning rums promise to be invariably excellent. Besides, you can explore the Heritage Park with well-groomed gardens, craft shops, and food stalls.
Barbados rum map
Lastly, explore the Barbados rum map below with all locations listed in this short article. You can find the best accommodations nearby and book your stay in advance.