If sipping tropical cocktails on a white sand beach is your idea of the perfect Caribbean vacation, then Barbados might be your ideal Caribbean destination.
Most of the island’s coastline is graced with silky white sand and clear blue water, and since Barbados is the birthplace of rum; it’s possible that people have been drinking cocktails on Bajan beaches for hundreds of years.
A deed to a plot of land granted to a distillery named in honor of Sir John Gay can be traced back to 1703.
This makes Mount Gay the world’s first commercial rum distillery and one of the oldest continuously operating distilleries in the Western Hemisphere.
A trip to Mount Gay Distilleries should be on everyone’s Barbados Bucket List, whether you’re interested in rum, or about the history and heritage of Barbados.
The tour starts with a complementary Black Barrel Rum Punch that’s enjoyed while being guided through exhibits that relate to the history of the Mount Gay Distillery.
On display is the original deed as well as limited edition rums that were specially blended to mark important milestones for the company and for Barbados.
Mount Gay Tricentennial was specially blended with rums from 1969, 1974 & 1976 to mark their 300th anniversary in 2003.
The more recently released Mount Gay XO Cask Strength celebrates fifty years of Barbadian independence.
The tour continues with a short movie that goes into detail on the invention of rum on the island and the realization that the harsh spirit got smoother by spending time in oak casks during the long voyage back to England from Barbados.
The film also explains how the use of coral-filtered water, charred casks, and both a copper pot still and column still are used to create the signature Mount Gay aroma and flavor.
Armed with the knowledge needed to properly appreciate fine rum, it’s now time for a guided tasting of five rums.
Mount Gay Eclipse has traditional rum notes of brown sugar and bananas, with just enough citrus zest and spice for a challenging sip.
This rum is ideal for mixing tropical cocktails while relaxing on a beach in Barbados.
Mount Gay Black Barrel spends some extra time in heavily charred bourbon casks, and a warm smokiness is evident. A sweet yet spicy smokiness that lingers, along with some mild hints of caramelized bananas and vanilla.
Mount Gay XO is smooth and decadent! All of the pleasant notes of the previous rums inter-mingle against a backdrop of rich dark chocolate and raspberries. You can immediately tell that this is a rum to be sipped slowly and savored.
The final sample is special since it’s a spiced rum that’s only available locally.
Mount Gay Mauby Rum is steeped with the aromatic bark of the Colubrina Tree. Iced and sweetened mauby tea is actually a popular beverage on many other Caribbean islands, but mauby flavored rum is certainly something unique.
The Mount Gay Rum Tour is ideal for gaining a new appreciation for rum while also learning about the legacy of an iconic Bajan Institution. The time-honored traditions still used to create rum in Barbados are truly admirable.
The additional Mount Gay Cocktail Experience takes it one step further and adds a fun and interactive aspect to the rum tour.
The Cocktail Experience begins in the bar at the Visitor Center.
The bartender guides participants in mixing a mojito using Mount Gay Silver Rum while explaining the basics of bartending utensils. He also carefully describes the nuances of a great cocktail before leading everyone outside to their work stations.