Bermuda has a long history of rum, it started back in 1850 with Gosling’s Rum. One of the earliest purveyors of alcoholic beverages, the very first one actually, Gosling’s has come to define rum in Bermuda and is part of just about every local tradition, especially the cocktails.
The Dark ‘N’ Stormy is actually trademarked by Gosling’s and consists of Gosling’s Black Seal Rum and ginger beer over ice. The name is said to have originated when an old salt observed that the drink was the “color of a cloud only a fool or dead man would sail under.”
The antecedents of the Swizzle are as old as cocktail making itself and while several islands lay claim to a form of the drink, the original Rum Swizzle can only be found on Bermuda. The drink that gave name to the swizzle stick, the beverage is a simple mix of rum and fruit juice. On my last day on the island I had lunch at the Swizzle Inn, the self-proclaimed purveyor of the best Swizzles on the island where they mixed their first drink in 1932. I love the combination of the fruit flavors and rum, a tropical kick in the pants. Sitting on the balcony of the restaurant, sipping the Swizzle while chatting with friends was one of my favorite moments on the island.
This is a Bermudan original. The family-run pub serves up a legendary version of the national cocktail, the rum swizzle, and is the oldest watering hole in the country; it first opened in 1932. The shepherd’s pie and the fish sandwich are among the most popular items. Breakfast is served weekends until 3 p.m.
The Swizzle Inn, Bailey's Bay is like a cross between an English pub and U.S. dive bar, with enthusiastically graffitied walls, a barrage of old and new business cards stuck to the rafters, a bevy of those cliched signs about paying in advance if you're drinking to forget, and a menu of traditional pub grub with a Bermudian twist. The coolest thing is the haphazard pile of visitors' books, which date back as far as the early '40s!
The food is decent but the rum swizzle was disappointing—thin and sharp, as if they could only find one fruit juice to add. While we were there, the clientele was a nice mix of tourists and friendly locals, who pointed out the visitors' books and encouraged us to read them. However, you get the impression the pub could turn into a raging tourist trap during high season, especially when the cruise ships are around.
That said, it's a stone's throw from the Crystal and Fantasy Caves, and you're going to be thirsty after all that climbing. Worth stopping by.