5 Things to Drink in Jamaica

Adam Schop of NYC's Miss Lily's shares his wisdom for drinking on the Caribbean Island.

Miss Lily's, Jamaica
Photo: © Paul Costello

1. Beer
Jamaica is synonymous with Red Stripe, the quintessential crisp lager. Jamaicans also love stout, perhaps a surprising choice for the tropics. Guinness is popular here, though Adam Schop prefers locally brewed Dragon Stout, from the producers of Red Stripe.

2. Ginger Beer
“The Jamaican-made ones use cane sugar, not corn syrup, so they have a clean, natural flavor,” Schop says.

3. Rum
Overproof white rums like Wray & Nephew are often mixed with Ting, a Jamaican grapefruit soda. Explains Schop, “Local rum definitely has a, shall we say, ‘robust’ flavor, so that’s a great way to drink it.”

4. Sorrel Tea
Cooks steep dried hibiscus buds (called sorrel in Jamaica) with fresh ginger and sugar, then chill the tea overnight. They serve it with ice, a splash of soda water and a squirt of lime. “It has a tart, lemony, astringent flavor that you can feel on the enamel of your teeth,” Schop says. “It’s so refreshing.”

5. Sea Cat Punch
“Sea cat” is Jamaican slang for octopus; the punch is made with the milky white liquid produced by boiling octopus, plus white rum, rum cream, peanuts, molasses, Supligen (a protein supplement) and malt powder. Blended with ice, it becomes a thick, salty-sweet shake. Jamaican men swear it enhances virility; Schop swears it tastes “absolutely wretched.”

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