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Why sailors drink rum — and 5 perfect rum cocktails

It all dates back to the “Age of Discovery,” a period of history when seafaring European explorers discovered the Americas and West Indies, and commerce was dominated by ocean vessels carrying goods and people across the globe.

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play Why sailors drink rum — and 5 perfect rum cocktails (MOUNT GAY RUM)

Whiskey, vodka, gin, and tequila dominate the cocktail menus at most urban bars. But spend any time by the ocean, and rum cocktails reign supreme. Why is that?

It all dates back to the “Age of Discovery,” a period of history when seafaring European explorers discovered the Americas and West Indies, and commerce was dominated by ocean vessels carrying goods and people across the globe.

Rum is distilled from molasses or other sugarcane by products, and its origins are obscure. But large-scale production of rum began in the 1600s in the sugarcane-rich islands of the Caribbean. Smitten sailors soon brought their beloved new spirit to Europe and Colonial America, and rum quickly became the most popular hard liquor in the world.

The love affair between sailors and rum continues today. Attend any bigtime sailing event, and you’ll notice many of the competitors sporting red hats featuring the logo for Mount Gay Rum. Why? In order to get one of these hats, you have to sail in a professional regatta.

Mount Gay was first made on Barbados in 1703, making it the oldest commercial rum distillery in the world. And at the Newport-leg of this year’s Volvo Ocean Race - one of the most challenging and prestigious professional sailing events in the world - Mount Gay was the clear rum of choice among the sailing set.

If you’re ready to explore some rum-based cocktails, you can’t go wrong with a simple rum-and-soda. But don’t stop there. Here are five delicious drinks - courtesy of Mount Gay - that any sailor would cross an ocean for.

Black Barrel Manhattan

Mount Gay Black Barrel is a harmonious blend of oaky vanilla, spice, and sweet notes-and the perfect foundation for a knockout Manhattan.

  • 2 oz. Mount Gay Black Barrel

  • 1 oz. Dubonnet

  • 1 splash of simple syrup

  • 2 dashes bitters

Combine all ingredients in an ice-filled rocks glass and stir thoroughly. If you want a garnish, toss in a cocktail cherry.

Bajan Rum Punch

“Bajan” is the colloquial name for someone from Barbados. And the Bajan rum punch is one of the oldest and best-loved forms of this classic cocktail. On Barbados, locals have a catchy rhyme that helps them remember this refreshing drink’s recipe: One of sour, two of sweet, three of strong, four of weak.

  • 1 part lime juice

  • 2 parts simple syrup

  • 3 parts Mount Gay Black Barrel

  • 4 parts water

  • Bitters

  • Fresh ground nutmeg

Combine all ingredients in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until chilled. Strain into an ice-filled rocks glass, add a few dashes of bitters, and top with fresh nutmeg to taste.

Extra Old Fashioned

A simple twist on a storied cocktail, this old fashioned features Mount Gay XO-a complex rum aged for at least 8 years in oak bourbon barrels. It’s mildly spicy and floral, and a nice change of pace for men who usually drink whiskey cocktails.

  • 2 oz. Mount Gay XO

  • 1 bar spoon of sugar

  • 1 orange wedge

  • 3 dashes bitters

Combine rum and sugar in a rocks glass with ice and stir thoroughly. Add bitters and stir a bit more. Drop in the orange wedge.

Corn ‘N’ Oil

Arguably the most popular cocktail in Barbados, this drink is at once refreshing and pleasantly inebriating. Go easy on the rum and heavy on the gingery falernum if you want to sweeten it up a bit.

  • 2 oz. Mount Gay Black Barrel

  • .5 oz. Falernum

  • .5 oz. lime juice

  • 3 dashes bitters

Combine all ingredients with ice in a rocks glass, stir, and garnish with a wedge of lime.

Blood, Sweat & Tears

A cocktail that leans toward the refreshing end of the spectrum, this is exactly what you want to be drinking at five o’clock after a hot afternoon of boating, golf, or other outdoor activities.

  • 2 oz. Mount Gay XO

  • 1 squeeze of lime

  • .75 oz. Falernum

  • 1 splash cranberry juice

Combine all ingredients in cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until chilled. Strain it into an ice-filled Collins glass and garnish with lime and orange wedges.

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