7 Festive and Fun Caribbean Christmas Drink Traditions

This year, I’m not dreaming of a white Christmas. I’m dreaming of pink sand, pastel-colored houses, fiery sunsets, a so-blue-it-hurts ocean that I can dip my toes into morning, noon, and night, and spending the day with a flock of flamingos. TL;DR: I a…

This year, I’m not dreaming of a white Christmas. I’m dreaming of pink sand, pastel-colored houses, fiery sunsets, a so-blue-it-hurts ocean that I can dip my toes into morning, noon, and night, and spending the day with a flock of flamingos. TL;DR: I am dreaming of the Caribbean, where across many diverse countries and cultures, Christmas festivities look a little bit different. Rather than mulled wine and eggnog, there’s coquito, fresh ginger beer, sorrel, and guavaberry. When it comes to festive holiday cocktails and mocktails, you really can’t beat Caribbean Christmas drinks.

Across Trinidad and Tobago, Haiti, Puerto Rico, St. Maarten, the Bahamas, Jamaica, and the ABC islands (a.k.a. Aruba, Bonaire, and Curacao), to name just a few, you’ll find an array of holiday-inspired cocktails that make use of local ingredients and brighten your spirits. The main booze here is rum (To misquote Jack Sparrow, it’s the Caribbean, love! Of course there’s rum.) Rum is made from molasses and sugarcane juice. Many countries, from Jamaica to Barbados to Fiji to Peru, have their own takes on the traditional method, but these two ingredients are key to making rum.

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A Spiced Jamaican Black Cake for Christmas, Aged in Rum & Memory

“You should have started months ago. You remember. This is a cake that requires your attention, your respect and, most importantly, your time.”

These were my mother’s parting words to me when I told her of my attempt to make the most ubiquitous holida…

“You should have started months ago. You remember. This is a cake that requires your attention, your respect and, most importantly, your time.”

These were my mother’s parting words to me when I told her of my attempt to make the most ubiquitous holiday dessert throughout the English-speaking Caribbean: black cake.

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Butternut Squash Soup With a Hint of My Caribbean Home

In the fall, while the rest of the country reaches for pumpkin spice, I grasp for the emotionally stabilizing flavors of my Caribbean home of Trinidad and Tobago.

Dark rum and coconut always top the list, but it’s easy to end up empty handed. After al…

In the fall, while the rest of the country reaches for pumpkin spice, I grasp for the emotionally stabilizing flavors of my Caribbean home of Trinidad and Tobago.

Dark rum and coconut always top the list, but it’s easy to end up empty handed. After all, the sun has set on summer’s bounty, and the foods that mirror the fare found in the tropics have lost both their appeal and availability. So to make the dissonance less jarring, I do what most immigrants do best: Adapt. I need the resplendence of my heritage to shine through in all of my meals, even if it’s by the smallest measure. Enter butternut squash—the perfect canvas for creativity.

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