Tourists: Everyone wants to be one, but no one really wants to be one. Especially when that means locals can spot you a mile away. This is perfectly illustrated in Heineken’s hilarious “Jamaica” commercial. A group of locals are casually drinking beers and playing dominos in a rum shack when they suddenly spot tourists biking down the beach. In a mad dash to give the visitors the “real” Jamaica, the locals hide the dominos and beers, replacing them with stereotypes of the Caribbean experience: fresh coconuts topped with tiny colorful umbrellas, steel drums, Jamaican flags. One local seems to grow a full head of dreadlocks within seconds. The newcomers are amazed by the “Jamaica” they’ve found. We are so happy this is not the Jamaica we know.
If you want to have an authentic Jamaican rum bar experience, follow these ground rules.
A flask of rum is actually cheaper than a single shot. Don’t be alarmed if the label on your flask says Jose Cuervo or Captain Morgan’s: The flasks are often recycled and refilled with Jamaican rum. Once finished, be sure to bring your flask back to the bartender.
The locally beloved grapefruit-flavored soft drink Ting is the customary rum mixer. You have the rest of your life to drink rum and coke: Go local while you’re on the island.
It’s acceptable to request a splash of water, but no ice if you want to impress the locals. Drinking over-proof rum is like “drinking liquid fire” says Concierge Clayton Hinds of GoldenEye. If liquid fire just isn’t your thing, order a steel bottom — that’s one shot of rum mixed with four splashes of beer. While the thought of drinking liquid fire sounds both daring and exciting, we like to keep things smooth with Blackwell Rum. We’ll take it on the rocks, no showing off necessary!