There are over 1,000 rum shops on Barbados – an island which is only 166 square miles. It’s a place where rum is intertwined with the local culture, where Barbadians will happily spend the day sipping rum cocktails with friends while looking out onto the beautiful ocean and where you can find some of the best tasting rum in the world. Surprisingly, however, there are just four distilleries on the island, each of which has its own methods, techniques, equipment and style, offering plenty of variety to both locals and visitors.
Back in the seventeenth century, soon after people discovered molasses could be fermented to create alcohol and eventually rum, it was said there was one rum shop for every twenty people on the island. While the population has grown a bit since then, you’ll still see all sorts of shacks and small brick buildings along the sides of roads, brightly painted with a few tables and chairs out front. These little shops are a cultural icon themselves, but if you’re after a more in-depth experience, head to one of these distilleries to discover how rum is made and learn about the incredible history of the sweet spirit.