St. Barts: Sweet Spirits

One sip of homemade rhum vanille (vanilla rum), and you'll feel as warm and peaceful as the Caribbean breeze on the island of St. Barts. Locals — who guard family recipes closely — blend dark rum, fresh vanilla beans, simple syrup and secret ingredients to create a liqueur with a heady fragrance and a rum-driven kick. Slip into the rhum vanille tradition by lingering over shot glasses of the after-dinner digestif. No need to fret over menus; bottles often show up at restaurant tables unordered, a gift from the house. Or savor it barefoot at très chic beach bars, like The Sand Bar at Eden Rock. Stock up on the real deal in Gustavia's AMC grocery store or La Pinta boutique, and take the island-made potion with you when you leave. Even back home, one sip reignites that sweet St. Barts state of mind.