If you love your stomach, then sampling the local dishes and beverages in the Caribbean should be at the top of your list. For the best drinks in Puerto Rico, we searched high and low for the island’s long time favourites, which include beer, cocktails and rum concoctions.
Disclaimer: Many of the beverages mentioned in this list of best drinks in Puerto Rico contain alcohol. Please drink responsibly; do not drink with people you do not know; do not drive whilst intoxicated; and always observe the legal drinking age limits.
Table of Contents
Lovingly called “moonshine rum”, pitorro is a rum based drink that is made from sugarcane. It is a homemade beverage that can be found at celebrations around the island. Unfortunately, some production of pitorro is considered illegal and attracts punishment and prosecution. Homemade pitorro is often enhanced with local fruit which add tropical flavor and spice to the brew.
Chichaito has the pleasure of being the must-have beverage in Puerto Rico. It is a shot made with anisette liquor and white rum and mixed with ice. This licorice flavoured drink can be found at any bar in the island. It is very easy to make and requires few ingredients. Some bars and restaurants are very innovative and create their own variations of chichaito. There is chichaito de coco which is chichaito with coconut milk and coconut cream and chichaito de Nutella, which is chichaito with Nutella and evaporated milk.
3. Malta India
Malta India is a dark brown non-alcoholic beverage that is made from barley and hops. It’s aptly described as beer that has not been fermented. Yes, there is no alcohol. Produced by Compania Cervecera de Puerto Rico, Malta India has been described as a weird drink. However, Caribbean people love malt beverages and they are a natural element of our lives. Malta India has a distinct taste and smell that makes it one to remember and crave.
Bili is one of the best drinks in Puerto Rico because it’s a rum made from a locally grown fruit called the la quenepa. La quenepa is grown throughout the Caribbean and is known as ackee in Barbados and guinep in Jamaica. To make bili, quenepas are added to white rum, vanilla, brown sugar and cinnamon and stored in a dark place for one month to cure. Feel free to try some quenepas – if you get a sweet one, you’re lucky. If you get a sour one, the taste will pass.
5. Pina Colada
The pina colada is the national drink of Puerto Rico and a worldwide favourite for cocktail lovers. The drink is rumoured to have been created by a Puerto Rican bartender. However there is still some confusion about which bartender is the true creator. The pina colada is a simple drink that features the versatile pineapple fruit. Pineapple juice, coconut cream, condensed milk and ice are combined in a blender, poured into a glass and then garnished with a pineapple.
Gasolina is made it into this list of best drinks in Puerto Rico because of this description – “high-octane rum cocktail.” This cocktail brand which is conveniently packaged in an aluminum pouch, is available in several mixtures. Some of the more popular concoctions are mixed with Caribbean rum, tequila, vodka and fruit juices. Add this beverage to your must try list, because it’s only available in Puerto Rico, the Dominican Republic and some parts of Florida.
7. Papa Jac
If you’ve never had a tropical, Caribbean mojito, then Papa Jac is a must try. Papa Jac was created in 1991 by Juan Pablo Rodríguez, a musician and lover of Puerto Rican culture. Rodriguez was inspired to create the drink thanks to a visit to New Orleans. That inspiration resulted in a cocktail that was served in a fun glass with a quirky logo. The drink itself includes a combination of parsley juice and liqueurs.
Bacardi and Don Q are two of the most popular rum brands in the world that are made in Puerto Rico, and represent the Caribbean with pride. These internationally approved beverages are often the base for exotic concoctions that require a distinct Caribbean rum flavor. A simple yet addition to these rums is cranberry juice. The combination of the strong sugar cane and cranberry flavours are quite pleasing and make a memorable cocktail.
Medalla Light Beer is one of Puerto Rico’s best selling light beers that’s available worldwide. The beer is brewed by Compañía Cervecera de Puerto Rico which is located in Mayaguez. The company also manufactures Malta India. Medalla‘s popularity can be assessed by the numerous international beer awards. When you’re in Puerto Rico just look for the Medalla name – it’s affordable, readily available and tasty.
Another beverage that has the distinction of being one of the best drinks in Puerto Rico is coquito. This drink is similar to eggnog and is only made at Christmas. Appropriately called coconut eggnog, coquito’s key ingredients include egg yolks, coconut milk or cream of coconut, white rum, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla, evaporated milk and condensed milk. It is a sweet treat that is often given as a gift.
Do you love Caribbean food and willing to give it a try in the kitchen? Check out one of these Caribbean food blogs for inspiration.