All through historical past, folks everywhere in the world have made alcoholic drinks out of indigenous elements. Guavaberry liqueur is without doubt one of the most unusual examples of this common endeavor. Made in a lot of locations within the Caribbean, the concoction is often related to St. Maarten, the place it is thought of the nationwide drink.

The Plant

Opposite to its identify, the guavaberry is not associated to guava in any respect. It is really a better relative to clove and eucalyptus. Guavaberry bushes develop wild within the Caribbean islands and some areas of South and Central America. The fruits, generally known as rumberries, have additionally been launched to Florida, Hawaii, Bermuda, and the Philippines.

As a result of the bushes develop finest in rocky, troublesome terrain, and their fruit grows out of attain, harvesting the berries is difficult. Excessive winds and bugs can reduce the quantity of fruit the bushes produce; actually, the bushes are so vulnerable that some years they do not yield any berries in any respect. The berries themselves ripen to both yellow-orange or darkish crimson verging on black, and are about half the scale of cherries. On St. Maarten, the bushes bear fruit at completely different occasions from 12 months to 12 months, however solely when circumstances are good.

The Drink

For hundreds of years, folks within the Caribbean made their very own guavaberry liqueurs from a mixture of guavaberries, rum, and sugar cane. A worthwhile enterprise even sprang up within the Virgin Islands within the late 1800s, exporting guavaberry wines and rums to Denmark. However its market by no means broadened, and at present it’s onerous to search out outdoors of the Caribbean.

The Sint Maarten Guavaberry Firm is the primary producer of guavaberry liqueur as of late, holding the legendary beverage alive. Their Guavaberry Emporium in Phillipsburg gives free samples of their vast assortment of liqueurs. With their classic varieties and hand painted bottles, they’ve perfected the guavaberry liqueur like nobody else. In addition they promote rums, barbeque sauces, guavaberry honey, and related objects. Positioned in a quaint previous home on Entrance Avenue, the Emporium is a well-liked cease for vacationers to the island.

Whereas vacationers are probably to come across the Sint Maarten’s model, handmade guavaberry liqueurs nonetheless exist. Within the Virgin Islands, Ashley Nibbs (also called “the Bush Tea Physician”) brews his personal small model, A. Nibbs Sons & Daughters, based on household custom. And within the Dominican Republic, folks typically make their very own guavaberry liqueur by filling a jar with guavaberries, pouring in rum to cowl, after which burying the jar for a 12 months.


A treasured Christmas drink, guavaberry liqueur impressed vacation traditions. On St. Maarten, carolers would go from door to door, singing “Good morning, good morning, I come for me guavaberry.” At every home, they’d obtain a small pattern from the proprietor’s bottle. However this isn’t reserved for St. Maarten; residents of the Virgin Islands and the Dominican Republic likewise affiliate the spirit with Christmas festivities.

Many individuals favor to combine guavaberry liqueur in drinks fairly than consuming it straight due to its candy, fruity style. It is thought of particularly scrumptious as a colada, made by mixing guavaberry liqueur, coconut cream, and pineapple juice. A small quantity of the liqueur added to sauces or desserts lends a particular taste to the dish.

Traditionally, guavaberries have been used to make jams, juices, tarts, and desserts on numerous Caribbean islands. These tasty treats can nonetheless often be discovered by fortunate vacationers. Cubans savor the juicy, bittersweet fruits, consuming them plain or making juice. In addition they make a guavaberry syrup, which is used medicinally for liver issues.

Due to its rarity and uniquely nice style, those that encounter guavaberry liqueur ought to remember to give it a strive. You may even be impressed to convey house a bottle so as to add to your individual Christmas traditions.

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