Tag Archive: rhum agricole


As I mentioned in my previous post, one of my favorite things about St. Martin was the vast, selection of readily-available booze. The first time I entered Le Grand Marche, the biggest supermarket on the island, I spent a good half-hour in the spirits aisle, alternatively picking up bottles I’d only heard about and marveling over the prices.

On the way down, I’d talked constantly about rhum agricole with my companions; as far as I was concerned, it was going to be my first purchase. You can’t get it in Canada and while I’d tried cachaça (the Brazilian spirit also made from cane sugar) the differences in production make these two cousin spirits more different than people might imagine.

Funny thing is, my first purchase ended up being a bottle of mezcal, El Senorio Joven con Gustano. I knew nothing about it beyond that it was not aged (joven means young). It wasn’t until four days later that I even noticed it had worms in it  (gustano). While the latter is considered a bit of a marketing gimmick and is not exactly a selling point, I’d already finished a third of the bottle and was hardly in a position to consider returning it.

The prominent smoky and woody nature of this spirit didn’t exactly lend itself it to mixing with anything but I figured I’d give it a shot, partially because I didn’t want to waste what I’d purchased and mostly because I like a challenge. One of my favorite scotch cocktails is The Laphroaig Project and so I decided to use that as an inspiration for the flavors I wanted to incorporate into my cocktail. Lime juice and this funky anise bitters I’d picked up in Philipsburg were in the first draft.

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Over a week into my vacation on St. Martin and I’m not sure I want to come back. This is quite possibly one of the best islands I’ve been to and considering how little decent information is available online, I’m pleasantly surprised.

Of course, the weather’s really nice. Most days, there was a constant breeze and although it got really hot in the afternoon, it was temperate the rest of the time. I did get a bit of sunstroke but this can easily be avoided by heading out to the beach early, from 8 am till about 11.

The beaches aren’t spectacular but they suffice. For some reason, the French side has a nicer waterfront (come to think of it, the French side is pretty much better in every way) but no matter which end of the island you’re on, you’ll be able to find some sand to settle down on. I liked Grand Case best.

The people are very friendly but this holds true for most French islands as opposed to the British ones. Those who have good manners will go far. I enjoyed my stay here far more than I did my visits to the Virgin Islands and Antigua.

No, I think my favorite thing about St. Martin is the how cheap and available the booze is.

I’m going to get into that and, in the process, offer you a decent guide to the island. This is not where you’ll be looking for where to rent a car or which hotel to stay; those sort of mundane details are best left to the forums.

Many of the articles written about the nightlife of St. Martin read like the authors never hang out in those places. While I may not have visited every bar on the island where drinking is a national pastime (except during the Heineken Regatta where they add sailing into the mix) it pays to know the ins and outs of the system that fuels the party.

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