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11 Cocktails Created on Islands—and Where To Drink Them

Raise your glasses, travel lovers!

How fun is it to be traveling on an island and learn that, wow, a drink was actually invented here? Knowing this, why would you order a G&T or any other classic cocktail you can sip anywhere in the world? While stories of its invention are often debated—meaning more than one bartender or establishment will lay claim to the drink’s birthplace—rarely does this disagreement cross country lines. For example, the piña colada was invented in Puerto Rico, period, and the same goes for mojitos in Cuba.

On your next vacation to one of these islands, ordering a cocktail that was invented there is a fun way to dig into local flavors, just as you might by eating at a farm-to-table restaurant serving foods specific to that region.

From the Falkland Islands to Hawaii, here are 11 cocktails invented on islands around the world, along with a tip (for some) on the best place to enjoy them. In many cases, the recipe for an island’s national or signature cocktail is so well-known that any bartender can hook you up.

1 OF 11

The Painkiller

WHERE: The British Virgin Islands

Bright in appearance and also on the palate, this cocktail’s trademarked by Prusser’s Rum, a spirit that also happens to be a key ingredient. (Although any dark rum will do.) Invented during the 1970s at Soggy Dollar Bar, the rum’s blended with cream of coconut, orange, and pineapple juices, topped with grated nutmeg (preferably Grenadian). As the story goes, Soggy Dollar Bar owners George and Marie Myrick were tinkering around and developed this drink, named after a nearby bush, and dubbed it their house beverage.

Where to Try It: Soggy Dollar Bar.

2 OF 11

The Rum Swizzle

WHERE: Bermuda 

Not only is an unassuming pub (The Swizzle Inn) where this cocktail was invented in 1932, but it’s also the island nation’s oldest pub, dating back to the early 1900s. BBQ is hugely popular with locals and served here on the weekends and is an ideal pairing. Or, try Bermuda fish chowder, a fish sandwich, or fish and chips any day of the week. Don’t be put off by the drink arriving in a pitcher: that’s just how it’s done. Gosling’s Black Seal and Gold Seal rums are stirred with a trio of juices (lemon, orange, and pineapple) along with fruit liqueurs and what’s called falernum (lime and spice).

Where to Try It: The Swizzle Inn.

3 OF 11

The Mai Tai

WHERE: Hawaii

While “Trader Vic” Bergeron created this cocktail in 1934, it was first served ten years later at this iconic pink resort in Waikiki Beach. And, yes, that Trader Vic who also founded his namesake Polynesian-themed restaurant chain, of which 18 locations remain. At the property’s Mai Tai bar, you’re literally just steps from the beach, and—on some nights—the experience is accompanied by live music. In this fun, vibrant cocktail recipe is light and dark rums, pineapple and orange juices, orange Curacao, and Orgeat.

Where to Try It: Mai Tai Bar at The Royal Hawaiian.


4 OF 11

The Mudslide

WHERE: Cayman Islands

Way before spiked milkshakes hit bar menus in the U.S., a mudslide (Irish cream, vodka, and Kahlua whirled in a blender with ice and topped with a maraschino cherry—in a glass lined with chocolate syrup) was a treat for Cayman Islands bargoers. According to the Cayman Islands Tourism Association, during the 1970s, a patron ordered a White Russian at the Wreck Bar (at the Rum Point Club), but bartender Old Judd was out of cream. He used Bailey’s Irish cream instead—and the cocktail was born.

Where to Try It: As The Wreck is closed, try Kaibo Beach nearby.

5 OF 11

The Mojito


This mint-based beverage with white rum, lime juice, club soda, and sugar equals pure refreshment on a hot, humid day—just like in Cuba, where the drink was reportedly invented. While the exact location is still debated, that its roots are in Cuba is nearly uncontested. One common story is that African slaves working in the sugarcane fields developed the drink, while another tale frequently spun is that Sir Francis Drake came up with the cocktail to aid his crew’s illnesses.

Where to Try It: La Bodeguita del Medio in Havana’s Old Havana area claims to have been the first bar to serve the cocktail.

6 OF 11

The Piña Colada

WHERE: Puerto Rico

In 1954, this popular beach-y and poolside cocktail was born at Caribe Hilton by bartender Ramon Marrero. What’s cool is that you can still sip the cocktail at this resort today. That said, despite this resort claiming it was invented here, a similar version of the drink—featuring rum, coconut milk, and pineapple (pineapple juice or crushed pineapple) blended with ice and garnished with a maraschino cherry and pineapple wedge—popped up in the Savoy Cocktail Book, published in 1930.

Where to Try It: Caribe Hilton’s Caribar in San Juan.

7 OF 11

Planter’s Punch

WHERE: Jamaica

Some say this rum-based drink originated at The Planters Hotel in Charleston, South Carolina, but Jamaica is largely assumed to be the palace where it was founded. That’s based on a historical artifact: the September 1878 edition of a London magazine called Fun, which featured a recipe and linked it to Jamaica. The ingredients are dark rum, orange zest, lime juice, and sugarcane juice.

Where to Try It: Nearly every bar in Jamaica serves Planter’s Punch but it’s especially fine at Round Hill Hotel & Villas in Montego Bay, which has three bars and is right on the beach.

8 OF 11

Falkland Island Warmer

WHERE: Falkland Islands

This South American archipelago’s signature cocktail features lemon juice, hot water, Drambuie (Scotch whiskey), and sugar. Sounds simple, yes, but it’s the perfect drink to stave off the chills or a bad cold during winter, which is exactly when locals drink this. While the date that this hot beverage was created is not known, it is known that it appeared in Trader Vic’s Book of Food & Drink in 1946.

Where to Try It: Just about anywhere—even if you aren’t cold or sick.

9 OF 11

Aruba Ariba

WHERE: Aruba

A blend of fruit juices—typically orange, lemon, and pineapple juices—is shaken with crème de banana, grenadine, rum, and vodka to make an Aruba Ariba. It’s thought to have been created and first served by bartender Juan “Jocky” Tromp at Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino in 1963. “Ariba Aruba” is what he said when presenting it to the staff as a toast, and the name stuck.

Where to Try It: Mira Solo at Hilton Aruba Caribbean Resort & Casino, where it’s called “Aruba-tini” on the menu.

10 OF 11

Green Bonaire

WHERE: Bonaire

As the drink name suggests, this appears green in the glass, thanks to the island’s own Cadushy of Bonaire liqueur (crafted from cactus), along with triple sec. The story of its debut is such that it arose out of a contest organized by Cadushy, a local distillery, which you can also visit.

Where to Try It: Chibi Chibi Restaurant & Bar at Divi Flamingo Beach Resort & Casino.

11 OF 11

Ti’ Punch

WHERE: Martinique

When translated from pidgin (the locals’ language), this drink’s name becomes “petit (small) punch,” or Ti’ Punch. Rum (preferably French Caribbean rum), lime, and sugarcane syrup are the only three ingredients. Considered the country’s national cocktail, there’s no one story about how and where it was invented—instead, it’s as if it was always made and drank here. In addition to Martinique, you can also find this cocktail in Guadeloupe, another French Caribbean nation. Another thing to note: this is not served with ice.

Where to Try It: Just about any bar in Martinique serves Ti’ Punch.