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Guavaberry Rum From Sint Maarten Local Liqueur Old Man Brand Review In The Great Wide Thirsty Thursdays Travel Blog

Guavaberry Rum


For a delicious, uniquely tasting liquor, you need to try Guavaberry Rum! Never heard of guavaberries before? We hadn’t either until we found some in Sint Maarten.


CONTENTS



What is Guavaberry Rum?

Guavaberry is a fruit that grows on the guavaberry tree, which is prevalent throughout Central and South America as well as large parts of the Caribbean. It’s a tiny fruit that’s about half the size of a cherry, and it comes in a variety of colors. Because of its name, it’s a common mistake to expect them to taste sweet like guava fruit, but instead they actually have a flavor all their own: a little sweet, a little tart, and with spices that remind me of the holiday season.


Once you know what guavaberries are, guavaberry rum is pretty much what it sounds like: rum that is infused with fresh guavaberries to create a beautifully bright red colored rum with all the guavaberry flavors.


There’s a catch though: guavaberries grow in small quantities and ripen at random times throughout the year, and because they are so small, it takes a while to harvest enough to make guavaberry rum. Because of all those factors, guavaberry rum can only be made in small quantities, limiting the distillery’s ability to expand out to a larger market for the rum to make it into the hands of everyone who might want it.



History of Guavaberry Rum

For hundreds of years, indigenous people in Sint Maarten/Saint Martin have been making small amounts of guavaberry rum in their homes. They would make just what they needed for their family and friends, and it became a huge part of the local culture, even with its own folk-songs and Christmas carols. During the Christmas season in the 1950s, carolers would go from door to door singing a song that asked for some guavaberry rum, which would then be poured by those being sung to.


We were surprised to learn as well that guavaberries are often used to flavor coquito during the Christmas season in Puerto Rico. Coquito is another popular holiday beverage, but the easiest way to describe it is as a Puerto Rican eggnog. While we have had coquito several times in San Juan (and Adam has learned to make some at home), we’ve never seen a guavaberry coquito. The next time we’re in Puerto Rico, we’ll be looking for it!



Guavaberries have also been used to make jams, tarts, cakes, and wine, and is also known as “rumberry” in some parts of the world, but it’s believed that there are more guavaberry trees in St. Maarten than anywhere else in the world. Although guavaberry rum has lost a lot of its popularity since then, it is still a symbol of pride for the island.


What Is Guavaberry Rum From Sint Maarten Review In The Great Wide Thirsty Thursdays Travel Blog

How to Drink Guavaberry Rum

Because guavaberry rum is both rum and a liqueur, there are endless options for mixing cocktails with it. Sint Maarten’s Old Man Guavaberry Brand has several cocktail recipes on their website to try, including a Guavaberry Colada, Guavaberry Margarita, Guavaberry Daiquiri, and even a Guavaberry Kir. You could swap out the rum in any classic cocktail with this and I bet you would be pleased - I’m particularly thinking about pretty, pink mojitos in the summertime - or any cocktail that calls for Chambord or the lesser known creme de cassis. To be fair though, guavaberry rum is even lesser known than creme de cassis, and harder to get your hands on, too.


We will try making some cocktails with it in the future, but for now, we’re still enjoying sipping on it the way the St. Maarten locals have been for centuries: neat. If you’re interested in getting my specific cocktail recipes as I develop them, make sure you sign up for our newsletter at the bottom of this page to get notifications of all our new blog posts. Another good place to follow us for those types of things is on Pinterest.


Flying Dutchman Ziplining In Sint Maarten Guavaberry Bar With A View In The Great Wide Adventure Travel Blog

Where to Find Guavaberry Rum

Surprisingly, we first came upon guavaberry rum in Sint Maarten at the top of a mountain, right before taking the steepest zipline in the world. We had worked our way up the mountain on a ski lift and across a few ziplines and were rewarded with the most spectacular views in the Caribbean, and some of the most incredible views we’ve ever had in our life… and then we found a bar cart! A friend went to get me a drink while I was taking pictures and videos of the vistas for you, our readers, and turned back up with a red liquid in a plastic cup. She said that the woman at the bar cart said it’s their local rum, called guavaberry. I had never heard of such a thing, so I was stoked! We are all about trying the local foods and drinks everywhere we go; that is the easiest way to immerse yourself into the culture of the locals, and you’ll get more respect from the locals for it too. It was also really cool to later find out that that mountain we were ziplining down is one of the places that the guavaberries grow that are then used to make this rum.


Don’t worry though, you don’t have to trek to the top of a mountain on ziplines in St. Maarten to get some guavaberry rum, but you will be hard pressed to find bottles of it outside the Caribbean. After our zipline tour and lunch at our favorite beach bar, we made our way back to the cruise port to board our cruise ship for the next adventure, but made a quick stop into one of the shops at the cruise port to see if we could find some rum to bring home. Sure enough, there it was, along with a number of other flavors from the small distillery that makes it right there in Philipsburg. At only $21 a bottle, I wish we had bought more than one, but we wouldn’t have had space in our suitcases for more, so make sure you have extra space for it in yours!



Outside of St. Maarten, we have also found a Dominican guavaberry rum in Puerto Plata, and we learned that the St. Maarten Old Man Guavaberry Brand Rum can also be found in limited quantities in specific liquor stores in Florida, New York, Connecticut, New Jersey, Maryland, and Washington DC. You can find a full list of those liquor stores here, but keep in mind that guavaberry rum is made in very limited quantities, so if you see some, grab it while you can!


Guavaberry Rum Shop In Sint Maarten Cruise Port Local Specialties In The Great Wide Thirsty Thursdays Travel Blog

Our Verdict

Guavaberry rum has a distinct, unique flavor that somehow simultaneously feels like summer but definitely has notes of the holidays, so it makes sense that this is a holiday drink in a tropical paradise. I’d be willing to bet that, unless you have really well-traveled friends, you could surprise everyone with it at a holiday part, where it’s guaranteed to be a hit even if people already know what it is. Look for it in gift shops while you’re in the Caribbean, and grab a bottle if you see it in your local liquor store… We highly recommend it!


St Maarten Flying Dutchman Bar With A View In The Caribbean Guavaberry Rum In The Great Wide Travel Blog Thirsty Thursdays

Quick Reference Guide

What

Taste

Sweet and slightly tart with earthy holiday spices

ABV

35%

Made In

Philipsburg, Sint Maarten

Buy It At

Tourist shops in the Caribbean and select liquor stores in the USA

Cost

$21 at the cruise port in St. Maarten, Prices will vary at local liquor stores

Our Verdict

A uniquely flavored rum that is perfect for sipping neat for the holidays or mixing cocktails with in the summertime, but it’s made in very limited quantity so grab it when you see it!


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In The Great Wide Travel Lifestyle Blog Phoebe and Adam at the Scotch Whisky Experience in Edinburgh, Scotland

We’re Phoebe & Adam
the couple behind
In The Great Wide!

This is our travel lifestyle blog where we not only share stories from our adventures while traveling the world, but also our thorough research of the places we visit & practical advice on how to save money so you can travel more too!

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