Drink Like A Local Islander

Tips on drinking 3 well-known beverages from Barbados, Ireland and Fiji.

Kava**** on Fiji
The pounding drums. The tattooed natives. The coconut-size "shot glasses." A Fijian kava ceremony makes you question whether to take a photo or run for your life. The answer is neither. Show some respect. While it's no lychee martini, the bitter and potent juice of the kava root connects the scattered tribes of Fiji's 300 archipelagos.**
At its Best:**** You'd traditionally arrive with kava as a respectful gift to the chief. You'll hear the root being pounded all afternoon into something remotely quaffable. By sunset each bowl is ceremoniously poured by the chief. But you're on vacation. Let your resort pre-package the respect and rites so you can concentrate on swallowing the stuff.
You're a Tourist if You:** Sip it. Kava is a shot, supersized. Knock it down, baby. Clap your hands once (cupped palms for a hollow sound) before downing the wicked root juice. Then clap three more times and say "Maca!" This lets the chief know you took it like a man. (Ladies, feel free to ask for a "low-tide" serving.) All this clapping and posturing helps distract from the fact that kava tastes like peppery puddle water and makes your worries (and tongue) sail off into the sunset. By Nathan Myers | Eddy Patricelli
Rum on Barbados
Liquor historians debate whether rum originated here. Barbadians live as if to prove it. More than a thousand rum shops line the archipelago's streets and beaches. They even neighbor churches. But rum shops and churches are allies, since rum has flowed through this peaceful 166-square-mile island for 350 years. More recently, Bridgetown-based Mount Gay Rum put Barbados on the world map and serves as an icon of national pride.**
At its Best:** A safe start is Mount Gay Extra Old. Or better, order St. Nicholas Abbey rum, made at a historic sugar plantation. No matter your choice, rum tastes best in a rum shop, "liming" with locals on ragged bar stools perched over old sandy floors as Barbados' blue water peeks through open windows. Part corner store, part pub, rum shops aren't for the shy. Brush up on politics, and cricket.**
You're**** a**** Tourist**** if**** You:** Order Bacardi or a $90 shot at a swank restaurant along the south coast. Rum peaks at around 15 years of aging. Don't pay for more, and don't look surprised when your rum arrives in a flask alongside a plastic cup with ice and a can of Coke. The Coke is merely a suggested mixer, not a mandate. By Eddy Patricelli | Courtesy of Mount Gay