From warm spring days to sultry summer nights, the only thing better than drinking your fill of the lush Caribbean landscapes and turquoise waters of the U.S. Virgin Islands is taking them in with a cocktail in hand. With a history steeped in sugarcane processing and rum distilling, these islands are known for tropical cocktails that take inspiration from the land and pack a punch in fruity flavor. Rum is definitely the local celebrity and comes in just about every flavor imaginable (think fruit-forward infusions like guava, black cherry, and blueberry lemonade). If you’re not a rum fan, though, don’t worry — there are still plenty of other options with a heady island twist.
Whether you’re looking to taste USVI signatures or find the perfect fuel for a mellow beach day, these cocktails are perfect for quenching your thirst.
If you like piña coladas but prefer something more potent, this cocktail is for you. A blend of dark rum, pineapple juice, orange juice, and coconut cream, this concoction traces its roots back to the British Virgin Islands in the 70s but has been adopted by USVI as a signature cocktail. Order one (or two) at The Beach Bar on St. John. Whether you get it by the glass or the gallon (an actual menu option), you can sip and enjoy the views of Cruz Bay and nightly live music from local bands.
Part cocktail, part milkshake, this creamy, frozen treat is a cross between a mudslide and a piña colada. Featuring Coco Lopez, Baileys, Kahlua, amaretto, and vodka (and/or dark rum), this booze-forward drink was created on St. Thomas in the 70s. Some of the best are whipped up at the Bolongo Bay Beach Resort on St. Thomas. With seaside views and nightly live entertainment — from stilt walkers and fire dancers to local musicians — this swim-up pool bar is the ideal spot to drift the days away.
Rum Island Punch
If you appreciate a bargain, this spiked punch filled with your choice of tropical, fruit-infused rum and topped with a Bacardi 151 floater packs a punch — you’ll only need one of these to have a good time. Order the strongest and best from The Rum Island Pub on St. Thomas and appreciate gorgeous bay views and docking cruise ships. Daily, they also have a great happy hour from 4:00 pm to 6:30 pm.
If you’re on St. Croix, taste rum straight from the source through this signature drink at the Cruzan® Rum Distillery. Every bar on the island makes it a little differently (thus the name!), but the original pour involves a mix of mango and coconut rums with a splash of pineapple juice. You’re also sipping history with this drink — the sugar mill that eventually became the distillery was established in 1760.
The only thing the house specialty at RumRunners St. Croix will have you running for is a refill. Cruzan® coconut and banana rums combine with blackberry brandy, grenadine, sour mix, and pineapple juice under a float of Cruzan® Black Strap rum at this Christiansted Boardwalk waterfront bar. The blend of sweet, sour, and tart looks like a sunset in a glass — which is apropos since the sunsets from the deck are spectacular.
Need a break from all things rum? Casual simplicity meets powerful woodsy flavor in this take on a mule. A mix of Jameson whiskey, ginger, lime, and bitters, this cocktail is best served at the Rum Hut on St. Thomas alongside hefty portions of wings and brick-oven pizza. With swaying swings and a location directly across from the cruise ship port, this spot is equally good for a welcome-to-the-island treat or a goodbye toast.
Nothing says “island paradise” like soaking up the sun with an elaborate, deceptively strong cocktail by your side. Composed of five different Cruzan® rums (often pineapple, banana, coconut, citrus, and dark) shaken with pineapple, orange, and cranberry juices, this Caribbean classic can be found at the Bolongo Bay Beach Resort in St. Thomas. It may be served in a bucket with several straws and garnishes, but you’ll want this easy-drinking poolside companion all to yourself.
Dark ’N’ Stormy
Even in the brightest sun, this cocktail brews up a real storm of sweet and spicy goodness. Like a Moscow mule, this classic is made with Gosling’s molasses rum, fresh lime, St. John Brewers’ draft ginger beer, and a dash of bitters. Grab one from the St. John Brewers’ Taproom in Mongoose Junction and spend an afternoon shopping at the boutiques in Cruz Bay.
A fish bowl is the kiddie pool of cocktails compared to the shark tank. Made with six types of rum and several tropical liquors, this electric blue, 64-ounce cocktail will keep even heavyweights buzzing the whole afternoon. Whether you’re just getting warmed up or ready to dance the night away at the “best parking lot bar in the world,” order one from Duffy’s Love Shack in St. Thomas’ ultimate party place, Red Hook Plaza.
This luxurious cocktail is the epitome of celebratory sophistication and an excellent addition to date night. One part Cruzan® strawberry rum to four parts rosé champagne, this light, floral, and fruity drink pairs perfectly with the pink and orange hues of a sunset cruise from the Sapphire Beach Marina on St. Thomas.