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It's 5 O'clock Somewhere

Drinking is an important of many Bahamas vacations. Rum, in particular, has played an interesting part in Bahamian history since the days of the U.S. Prohibition. Entrepreneurial Bahamians got rich smuggling liquor across the Atlantic from Britain; when the U.S. government put a ban on alcohol consumption, a ready supply less than 50 miles away made the island nation a key trans-shipment point for contraband.

Although the Bacardi distillery in Nassau has been closed since 2009, the Bahamas still has two breweries, and two rum distilleries. Kalik, brewed on the southwestern end of New Providence at Commonwealth Brewery is a nice, light ale and comes in regular, Kalik Lite, and, for the serious drinker, the stronger Kalik Gold. The beer was awarded four Monde Selection Gold Medals. Commonwealth also has a distillery, turning out Ole Nassau and Ron Ricardo rums. Brewery and distillery tours are not available there, but you’re encouraged to tour the artisanal John Watling’s Distillery located on the site of the former Buena Vista hotel in Nassau. After your tour, take a seat, enjoy the breeze off the harbor and enjoy their signature Rum Dum cocktail. The newer Sands Beer, brewed on Grand Bahama, comes in regular and light. The line recently expanded to include stouts and lagers. Tours are available at this 20-acre brewery (242/352–4070).

Bahamian Cocktails

Bahama Mama. Light rum, coconut rum, vanilla-infused rum, orange and pineapple juices.

Goombay Smash. Light rum, coconut rum, pineapple juice, a dash of Galliano, grenadine. Created at Miss Emily's Blue Bee Bar on Green Turtle Cay, where her daughter and granddaughter still serve them daily.

Rum Punch. Campari, light rum, coconut rum, orange and pineapple juices.

Sky Juice. Gin, fresh coconut water, condensed milk, a sprinkle of nutmeg. Served over crushed ice.

Best Beach Bars

Chat ’N' Chill, the Exumas. The restaurant and 9-acre playground—an amazing white-sand beach—is the Exumas' party central, particularly for the famous all-day Sunday pig roasts and the Friday-night bonfire beach bash. Play volleyball in the powdery sand, slam the notorious Goombay Smash, order what's cooking on the outdoor grill—fresh fish, ribs—or chat and chill.

Mackey's Sand Bar and Tiki Bar, South Bimini. Boat in or take the shuttle from Bimini Sands Resort to this party place where you can get sand between your toes just as easily inside—where sand carpets the floor—as well as outside. Play a little volleyball, take a dip in the pool, or snorkel right off the beach between cold Kaliks.

Nippers, the Abacos. Guana Cay's infamous party spot is a lively bar with spectacular views of the Abaco Great Barrier Reef. The Frozen Nipper—a slushy rum-and-fruit-juice beverage—goes down well on a hot day. Don't miss the Sunday pig roasts, which draw everyone on the island.

Pete's Pub, Abaco. This beachside tiki hut in Little Harbour is jumping from 11 am to sunset. Take a dip in the shallow harbor or luxuriate on the beach with a cup of their special rum punch—the Blaster.

Tony Macaroni's, Grand Bahama. Follow up Tony's famous roasted conch with a Gully Wash (green coconut milk and gin) on Taino Beach, arguably the island's most spectacular. There's usually great live music at this thatch-roof shack.

Updated: 2013-12-16

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