Drink Like a Local in Antigua

It’s time to drink like a local in Antigua: the island plays host to stellar spirits & brews, with the majority coming from two local places: the Antigua Distillery Limited and Antigua Brewery Limited. From Antigua’s distillery you get national rums like Cavalier and English Harbour, while from the Brewery there’s Wadadli and also Wadadli Gold, which kicks up the manliness a notch. But if you really want to drink like a local, check out Bushy’s and get a taste before it’s gone!

St John's St, St John's, Antigua & Barbuda
Going all the way back to 1934, the Antigua Distillery has been producing some of the most popular flavors on the island. Back then, the fledgling distillery bought a number of estates and a sugar factory. This sugar, named Mucovado, was a favorite among Antiguans. In the early 1950s the molasses byproduct went on to become Cavalier Muscovado Rum—a hearty, full-bodied, black rum. As rum tastes evolved toward lighter-bodied expressions, so did the Antigua Distillery; refining their lineup to eventually include Cavalier 5 Year Old Rum. This amber spirit is just the thing for accompanying lazy days on Antigua’s many beaches, visits to local BBQs, some light sailing, or taking in spectacular sunsets at Shirley Heights. Perfectly fine on its own over ice, expect a medium-bodied, fairly dry rum with a pleasantly long smokey finish.
Buckley's Main Road
You could travel to Antigua a dozen times and never know about Bushy’s 1 & 9 Best Matured Rum, but you would be missing one of the island’s most treasured spirits... and now perhaps rarest. Made by one man: John Gonçalves, better known as Bushy, this rum begins life as an overproof base obtained form Antigua Distillers Ltd—the folks behind, among other things, English Harbour Rum. After a bit of aging in oak barrels and the addition of several secret ingredients and blending techniques Bushy would never reveal, you get a rum that’s surprisingly smooth, dry, and even a little spicy with vanilla and nutmeg coming through. That explains why it’s treasured, but why is it rare? Well, that’s because Bushy passed away back in 2013 leaving no one to follow in his spirited footsteps. Should you find yourself in a proper local bar, try asking for Bushy’s, or, if you’re really in tune with the local scene, simply 1 and 9. If you’re lucky, you’ll get a last taste of an Antigua classic.
More from AFAR
Sign up for our newsletter
Join more than a million of the world’s best travelers. Subscribe to the Daily Wander newsletter.
AFAR Journeys
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
Journeys: Africa + Middle East
National Parks