Francis Bay, St. John

Have you heard of Francis Bay, St. John? It may not be as well know as some of it’s other beach neighbors, but if you’re looking for a long beautiful beach that is usually not as crowded, it’s worth the drive.

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Overlook of Maho Bay (to the right) and Francis Bay (to the left)

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Francis Bay is just around a point from Maho Bay on St. John’s beautiful north shore. Park along the dirt road leading up to the beach.

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The beach at Francis Bay is a long stretch of light colored soft sand. It’s a gentle access into the water, and can be a bit pebbly in places where the water breaks on the shore.

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There are portable restrooms close to the parking lot, some bbq pits and a few picnic tables, but no other services, so be sure to pack in some food and drinks to enjoy during your stay there.

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The snorkeling can be very good at Francis – especially on the northernmost edge close to the rocks.

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Great swimming, great snorkeling, beautiful sunsets and a long, beautiful, quiet beach. We thought it was well worth the drive.

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Find Francis Bay on our St. John Map


To see more posts on St. John and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 

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Crab Races in St. Croix

A bucket full of crabs = a whole lotta fun? In St. Croix the answer would be yes!

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Crab Races in St. Croix take place in several different locations, several times a week. We experienced our first Crab Races at the Divi Resort on the SE side of St. Croix.

Tito and Sue run Crab Races at the Divi once a week and it’s a surprisingly good time!

We arrived that evening and paid $2 each for a crab, assigning them a winning (or so we thought) name for the event. Michael Johnson, Crab-tastrophe,  Send Momma Home (don’t ask…) and Pinch Me all seemed strong and ready for the race.

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Once all bets were placed, Tito began to whip the crowd into a frenzy. Well, not really a frenzy, but we were certainly excited to see how our crabby athletes could perform.

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 They turned the bucket of crabs over in the middle circle and watched as they began to scurry.

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Within a minute or two, we had our first winner. There were several heats, and the winner of each heat then competed for the Grand Prize. Unfortunately Michael Johnson, Crab-tastrophe,  Send Momma Home (don’t ask…) and Pinch Me did not win, or actually even place, so we didn’t win any of the great prizes offered from local establishments such as locally made jewelry, dinner or a trip for two to Buck Island, but we had a great time anyway.

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And, while enjoying the races, enjoyed a number of delicious Cruzan Confusions masterfully concocted by the crew at the Divi Resort. Mmmm. good.

Have you enjoyed the Crab Races in St. Croix yet?


To see more posts on St. Croix and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory


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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Cinnamon Bay, St. John

We’ve been asked if we have a favorite beach on St. John, and we’d have to answer the same way that our friend Dwayne Allen of the Rum Bar in Phoenix answered when we asked him if he had a favorite rum. He said “They’re all like my children – I love them equally, it’s just that some days I prefer one over the other!”

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Map of St. John north side beaches. The umbrellas indicate beaches. For and interactive version of this map, click here
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With so many outstanding beaches to visit on St. John, it’s hard to pick a favorite, but Cinnamon Bay will always hold a special place in our heart. When we first visited St. John some 17 years ago, we were on a cruise and had only one day to explore St. Thomas and St. John. We asked a good friend of ours who had spent time on both islands for his advise on what to do and see. This is the same friend that told us we must sample a Painkiller while in St. John…which, of course, we did, and have been sampling them ever since!

So what was his advice? Take the ferry to St. John and spend the entire day on Cinnamon Bay. That’s exactly what we did, and spent an entire, beautiful day on one of the prettiest beaches we’d ever seen, sharing it with only a family of donkeys. That’s right – aside from a couple way on the other end of the beach – and the donkey’s – we had it all to ourselves.

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Fast forward 17 years and Cinnamon Bay is now one of the most popular beaches on the island and for good reason. It not only has a mile long expanse of gorgeous white sand, good swimming and snorkeling, it now has a ton of amenities as well.

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Cinnamon Bay has a General Store, a Beach Shop, Watersports Activity Center, Restaurant, Restroom and Showers, Camping and Cottages, plenty of parking and regular taxi service.

The only bad thing about all of this? You most likely won’t be the only ones on the beach with a family of donkey’s anymore. But with a mile of beautiful beach to enjoy, you should still be able to find a great spot in the sun as you can see from a picture of a more recent visit above.

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One of the Cinnamon Bay Cottages

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View to the left from the beach

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Looking down Cinnamon Bay Beach to the right

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Cinnamon Bay – still one of our favorite places to get our toes in the sand on St. John. Can you see why?

For more information on camping and other amenities on Cinnamon Bay, check out the
Cinnamon Bay Campground Website


Find Cinnamon Bay on our St. John Island Map

To see more posts on St. John and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Drunk Bay, St. John

Ever go to the beach to check out the….flotsam art? We didn’t take the short hike to Drunk Bay in St. John specifically for the art, but we ended up finding it to be, well, quite entertaining, actually.

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Drunk Bay does not have one of the typically gorgeous St. John beaches, such as any of the north side beaches, but we found it worth a visit nonetheless. Walk down to the pretty Saltpond Bay Beach and look for a trail that takes you to Salt Pond (you can find Saltpond Bay and Drunk Bay on our St. John Map). Walk past the Salt Pond, (which we are told is a good place to collect useable St. John sea salt) and towards the rocky shoreline of Drunk Bay.

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As you near the shoreline, you will begin to see some rather unusual man-made coral and rock formations scattered about.

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Decorated with pieces of coconut husks, driftwood and other items washed up from the sea, some of them are quite unusual and perhaps even artistic? It appeared to be a virtual outdoor art gallery!

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A few were even anatomically correct similar.

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Apparently the collection is continually changing with the tide, the weather and the anonymous artists that come to create their own Drunk Bay masterpieces.

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An easy hike and something quite different. Glad we went.
Is some of your artwork on display at Drunk Bay?

To see more posts on St. John and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Hawksnest Bay, St. John

It’s hard to pick a favorite beach on St. John – there are just so many gorgeous ones. There’s one after another on St. John’s north shore and one of the closer ones to Cruz Bay is Hawksnest Bay.

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Hawksnest is easy to get to, has parking close to the beach, has good amenities such as BBQ grills, restrooms and covered pavilions, and because of these conveniences - can get busy. What we like the most about Hawksnest is that it’s a great place to have a picnic, is great for swimming and snorkeling (unless there’s a north swell) and has some terrific shady areas and a little privacy in and amongst the lush foliage.

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Walk along the beach to the west then on a trail through the woods next to the water to get to Little Hawksnest Beach for a little more seclusion, or drive .3 miles past the Hawksnest Beach parking lot to park and enter Gibney Beach, which is actually part of Hawksnest Bay. Gibney has very limited parking but is beautiful and usually quite secluded.

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Looking towards Little Hawksnest Beach

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View of Gibney Beach

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The clear water makes for great snorkeling in areas

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One of the paths to Hawksnest Beach

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Find Hawksnest Bay on our ST. JOHN MAP


To see more posts on St. John and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 

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Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Rum Therapy On St. John

Although the smallest of the three US Virgin Islands, St. John has a tremendous amount of things to do and see, or plenty of space to stretch out and do nothing at all, if that’s what you’re looking for!

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During a recent visit, we took an early morning car ferry from Red Hook, St. Thomas to St. John. The car ferry is a good option if you’ve rented a car on St. Thomas and have plenty of time – just check with your car rental company to make sure they allow it.

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Car Ferry from Red Hook, St. Thomas to St. John

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Lovely Cruz Bay, St. John. Cruz Bay is where the ferries arrive and depart.

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Right off of the passenger ferry dock you’ll find a number of great beach bars and fun stores. During this trip, we made a stop at St. John Spice (upper level) and Bones Rum (1st level).

Take a hike down the beach and stop for a drink at:

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High Tide

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Joe’s Rum Hut, or

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The Beach Bar.

Cruz Bay has a lot of other great restaurant, bar and shopping options – there’s literally something for everyone. We headed up the hill on 20 toward the north side beaches and stopped at the Cruz Bay overlook for a pic.

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Then took a hike down through the forest to check out Salomon (Solomon) Bay and Honeymoon Beach.

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Salomon (Solomon) Bay

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Honeymoon Beach

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We continued on 20 past Caneel Bay

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And stopped at Hawksnest Bay Beach to lounge in the water for a while

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Climbed Peace Hill to check out the ruins and the gorgeous views…

Then lingered for a while at the popular Trunk Bay Overlook for a picture of the spectacular bay.

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Trunk Bay

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And snorkeled at the Trunk Bay Underwater Snorkel Trail

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Stopped at Cinnamon Bay to put our toes in the sand

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Checked out beautiful Maho Bay for the first time

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And peaceful Francis Bay.

We took our time looking around Coral Bay.

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Enjoying a very tasty Jazz Brunch at Miss Lucy’s

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and later an extremely tasty hamburger and rum drinks at Skinny Legs.

We hiked the Salt Pond Trail to Drunk Bay

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to check out some interesting coral sculptures that other visitors have created…

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And took one last chance to wade in the clear, blue water of Salt Pond Bay. Reluctantly, we headed back to the ferry,  a bit more tan and a lot more relaxed…

There you have it. A few of our favorite experiences from our last (much too short) visit to St. John. We’ll most certainly be going back, so, what have we missed? What are your favorite things to see and do on St. John?

 

To see other posts on St. John and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

copyright©Rum Therapy Beaches, Bars & More, Tropical Travel Guide, 2013
Pictures and other content may not be re-used without written consent from Rum Therapy, LLC

Skinny Legs, St. John

Skinny Legs, a  funky establishment serving up good food and drink to happy customers in quiet Coral Bay, St. John. Apparently named after the original owners sinewy stems, Skinny Legs is a great place to land to relax, chat with locals and visitors alike and to enjoy some great burgers and rum drinks.

Skinny Legs 1Friends Dougie  and Moe opened Skinny Legs in 1991 when Coral Bay was even quieter than it is now and it quickly became a favorite of locals. The word has now gotten out and now many tourists to St. John now make their way to the “other” side of the island to enjoy some time at Skinny Legs.

Skinny Legs 2On April Fools Day, 2012, Skinny Legs was purchased by husband and wife team Doug and Jaime who continue to carry on the tradition of good food and drink and a fun-laid back atmosphere.

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Skinny Legs 4Rum Punch and Coconut Swizzle
All drinks are shaken, not blended. Skinny Legs is a blender-free zone!

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We ordered the Pepper Jack Burger and it was REALLY good.

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Eclectic Decor – and one of the Gift Shops in the background

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Patrons enjoying some conversation, football, grub and good drinks

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Had to give the Skinny Legs Painkiller a try…

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As they say on their website – “Skinny Legs – a Pretty OK Place”
We definitely agree…

Find out more:
Skinny Legs, Coral Bay, St. John

Find Skinny Legs on our St. John Map

 

To see more posts on St. John and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

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Honeymoon Beach, St. John, USVI

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Honeymoon Beach, a north shore St. John, USVI beauty.

Access: hiking or boat
Hiking: there are 3 ways to hike to Honeymoon Beach.
1. Hike the Lindt Point Trail from behind the National Park Visitors Center in Cruz Bay.
2. Drive up Route 20 from Cruz Bay up the hill, past the Cruz Bay Overlook and turn left, right before the Virgin Islands National Park sign.

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There are a few parking spots to the immediate right after you turn. Walk past the National Park sign until you see the Caneel Spur Trail sign. Follow it down the hill to Honeymoon Beach.

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Caneel Spur Trail (Access #2)

3. Park at Caneel Bay Resort (there is a fee to park there) and take the path from the parking lot to Honeymoon Beach.

Beach: Honeymoon Beach is a long stretch of beautiful, light colored sand with a gentle access. Some shade is available.

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Honeymoon Beach looking left towards Solomon Bay.

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Honeymoon Beach looking right towards Caneel Bay.

Amenities: Watersports Center, Gift Shop, restrooms, hammocks, picnic tables, guided eco-kayak, hike & snorkel adventures. Chairs and water toys can be rented.

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Honeymoon Hut at Honeymoon Beach.

Tip: We visited Honeymoon Beach fairly early in the morning and it was just us and these guys:

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Wild donkeys on Honeymoon Beach

We hear that later morning and early afternoons can get quite busy with boats bringing guests over for excursions, so if you’re on St John during high season and want to avoid the crowds, you might try to spend time on Honeymoon Beach earlier in the a.m. or later in the afternoon.

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Find Honeymoon Beach on our St. John Map

To see more posts on St. John and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory


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Rum Therapy On St. Croix

Last spring we had the opportunity to go to St. Croix for the first time. We’d spent some time in the two other US Virgin Islands, St. Thomas and St. John, but had not yet gotten to venture a little farther south to the sunny shores of St. Croix.

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After just a week, St. Croix quickly became a new favorite destination. It’s the largest of the three islands but has about the same number of residents as smaller St. Thomas. The pace on St. Croix is decidedly relaxed, the people are warm and friendly and you can either find a quiet beach, relax and do nothing or be as busy as you want with activities like diving, snorkeling, kayaking, sailing, hiking and enjoying stunning scenery, great bars, music, restaurants and shops.

We’ve determined that one week on St. Croix is not nearly enough to truly experience this Caribbean gem, but until we can go and stay longer, we’ll share with you the things we’ve experienced so far that we think shouldn’t be missed! Click on the links for more pictures and info.

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 1. Cruzan Rum Factory Tour – if you enjoy rum, this is a must see. Interesting tour and a rum drink at the end!

2. Drive to Point Udall – the eastern most point in the US.  – beautiful vistas.

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From Point
Udall, hike down to Jack’s and Issac’s Beach at  sunrise…

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3. Sail to, snorkel and explore Buck Island. (See Turtle Beach, Buck Island and Snorkeling at Buck Island) Great snorkeling, an underwater snorkel trail, hiking and an amazing powder soft beach.

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4. Enjoy the wonderful Cruzan Rum drinks available everywhere on the island!

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 5. Explore Fort Christiansvaern in Christiansted and other historic buildings in the area to learn some of the the history of the island.

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Be sure to spend time walking around Christiansted shopping, exploring and enjoying some of the great restaurants and bars. Join the fun at the Crab Races in Christiansted and the Divi Resort on the SE side.

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6. Head to the northwest part of the island and hike one of the trails in St. Croix’s rainforest. Stop by the Mt. Pellier Domino Club for a cool drink, visit with some of the locals and feed a can of beer to one of the famous “beer drinking pigs”. (Read more about out visit to Mt. Pellier Domino Club here: Mt. Pellier Domino Club)

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7. Spend some time in Fredriksted and check out the pier where the cruise ships dock. Snorkel, dive, jump off the pier or just enjoy a spectacular sunset. Head over to nearby Coconuts on the Beach and Rhythms at Rainbow Beach to enjoy a cold beverage and live music.

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8. Spend a lazy day at Sandy Point. One of the prettiest beaches on the island and the location of the beach scene in “The Shawshank Redemption”.

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9. Enjoy “life in the left lane”. Rent a jeep to explore the entire island and drive on the left side of the road – from the left side of the jeep!

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10. Take a day trip to St. Thomas or Puerto Rico by seaplane.

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Whatever you do or however long your visit, be sure to slow down, relax and take advantage of all that St. Croix has to offer!

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See our St. Croix Map for locations of these attractions


To see more posts on St. Croix and other islands, check out our Island Blog Directory

 

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Cruzan Strawberry Rum

Cruzan Rum recently announced the launch of their newest spirit, Cruzan Strawberry. It’s the 11th spirit in their family of flavored rums, and the recipe is crafted with a touch of ginger to give a unique spin to the strawberry taste. Here are some other details:

Tasting Notes and Aroma:
•       Taste – Ripe, wild strawberry coupled with subtle ginger root
•       Aroma – Fresh and juicy strawberry
•       Finish – Smooth with a light spiced ginger finish

After reading this press release from the folks at Cruzan Rum, we’d been eagerly awaiting the arrival of the new Strawberry Rum. We’re recent fans of Cruzan Rums since our Cruzan Rum Factory Tour in St. Croix in February, and have enjoyed using the Cruzan flavored rums in many boat and beach drinks such as the Cruzan Confusion! Last week, we were lucky enough to find a bottle of the newly released Cruzan Strawberry Rum after visiting nearly every liquor store in our area. 

After scoring the desired bottle, we asked our Facebook friends for recipe suggestions. In addition to some excellent suggestions from our readers, Cruzan Rum Representative, Justine, also kindly volunteered a few recipe ideas. We asked a couple of friends if they would assist us in some Strawberry Rum recipe testing this weekend, and with minimal (no) arm twisting, they obliged!

We picked two recipes to start with and began to assemble the necessary ingredients.

First on the agenda was a Strawberry Mojito using the recipe from Cruzan Rum. The recipe called for Cruzan Strawberry Rum, sugar, mint leaves, juice of half a lime, and club soda. We muddled the sugar, mint, lime juice and a splash of club soda.

We then added the rum (note the exceptional choice of shot glass!),

Then poured it over ice in a tall glass and garnished with lime and strawberry.

After a little sampling and tweaking, this is the version of the recipe that we liked best.

Strawberry Mojito

3 to 3.5 oz. Cruzan Strawberry Rum
2 tsp. sugar
4 mint leaves
Juice of half a lime
6 oz. plus a splash of club soda

Muddle the mint leaves, sugar, lime juice and a splash of club soda. Add the remaining club soda and stir. Pour into a tall glass over ice. Garnish with a slice of lime and a strawberry.

It seems easy to overpower the taste of the strawberry with too much mint, so we initially tried 8 leaves then reduced the amount to 4 leaves per serving. The overwhelming consensus of all 4 taste testers was that the Cruzan Strawberry Mojito was crisp, light and very refreshing – an excellent summer beverage!

To make a Skinny Strawberry Mojito: Substitute 1/2 – 1 packet (.5 – 1 gram) Stevia for the sugar and/or Sprite Zero for the club soda. Tweak the amounts until the taste is just as you like it!

Stay tuned – more Cruzan Strawberry Rum Recipes (Part 2) in tommorow’s post!

photos: Pamela Ott