Bermudians like their rum year-round, but especially in the summer. AFAR spoke with Malcolm Gosling Jr. of Gosling’s Rum about can’t-miss celebratory cocktails and hotspots to check out on your next trip to the island’s friendly shores.  

As both a Bermudian and eighth-generation Gosling, Malcolm Gosling Jr. has rum in his blood, figuratively and, during summer happy hours, quite possibly literally. Gosling’s Rum is more than Bermuda’s oldest family-owned business—it’s also the key ingredient in the island’s national drink, the Dark ‘N Stormy®.  Plus it’s in Bermuda’s infamous Rum Swizzle and black-rum fish chowder. In short, Malcolm Gosling’s rum roots run deep.

Happy Hours on Land and at Sea

Perhaps the only thing Bermudians love more than their local rum is a good party. “Every summer Friday night at five o’clock the happy hours kick off,” says Gosling. “They’re an all-island event. Locals, tourists, and business travelers let loose together and have a good time.” Whether your scene is cocktails at an outdoor bar, by a beach bonfire, or on a boat in Hamilton Harbour, Gosling’s Rum will likely be in your glass. And Gosling himself might even be there.

“I love hitting up the happy hours on Hamilton’s Front Street. The crowd is stylish and there’s top-notch reggae music everywhere,” Gosling says. “UberVida’s happy hour cruises around Hamilton Harbour are a must, too. You simply have to see Bermuda from the water.” Aside from the welcoming happy hour vibe, Bermuda’s summer “raft-ups” are a huge hit with both locals and tourists alike. “People end up tying their boats and catamarans together for enormous parties out on the water,” Gosling says. “It’s like Front Street—the music, the fun—but it’s all happening while floating out on the harbour.”

From Laid-Back Speakeasies to World-Class Greens

For a more laid-back time, Gosling recommends Tobacco Bay’s authentic rum shack, and Hamilton’s Yours Truly speakeasy is a gem. “Just ask a local where it’s at. They’ll take you there,” he says. Another good place to find serenity during Bermuda’s summer months? “On the golf courses,” Gosling says. “With six world-class courses including Port Royal, the best time to have the green all to yourself is while everybody else is at happy hour.”

Gosling may rave about Bermuda’s vibrant summer social scene, but it’s apparent that his first love lies in the extraordinary natural beauty of the island. The fact that he travels to New York City and back for work so often only reinforces this love. “I see it all the time. On the New York to Bermuda flight, we get 10 minutes out from landing and the colors start changing and people just start freaking out. First-timers really can’t believe Bermuda is so close.”

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Bermuda is Closer Than You Realize

If you still need convincing or think you just don’t have time to go to Bermuda, Gosling says think again. “It’s beyond easy to get here,” he says. “I’ll leave on a morning flight from JFK in New York and be sitting at Hamilton’s Swizzle Inn before noon. Bouncing over here for a long weekend is so doable.” That means you’ll arrive with plenty of time to relax before happy hour.

Get inspired for your next trip at GoToBermuda.com