Kendie Williams oversees the bar at the Four Seasons Resort Nevis. (photo by Fran Miller for Wine and Whiskey Globe)

How is it that rum somehow escaped my cocktail-making attention? I’m a brown liquor lover, after all. While visiting the Caribbean island of Nevis, I corrected the oversight. It was impossible, after all, to ignore the sweet spirit, featured within many of the drinks on the menu at Four Seasons Resort Nevis, as well as at surrounding bars and restaurants.

“When in Rome,” I figured, and dove deep. Fortunately, I found Kendie Williams, the resort’s master mixologist. The property’s most popular drink is Kendie’s Kick. Who better to guide my education?

Williams is well-known on the island (and beyond) for her self-taught creativity in crafting delicious rum-based cocktails utilizing locally sourced fruits, spices, and herbs. The Nevisian native, equally renowned for her warm and welcoming nature, has won numerous awards over the years, including the “Hotel Bartender of the Year” in 2014 and Patron’s “Best Tasting Margarita – Nevisian Sunshine.” She was also once named one of the “Most Interesting People in Rum,” by the Caribbean Journal. I couldn’t ask for a better instructor.

Our syllabus? Six rums of varying derivation and flavor. Lesson one: depending on where it’s made, rum has two additional monikers: ron if Spanish, and rhum if French. Lesson two: rum can be made from either molasses or sugar cane juice. Lesson three: many producers promote the age of their rum on the label. Unlike wine, this is not necessarily indicative of quality. “Age can be good, but first and foremost you want a smooth character in your rum,” said Williams.

And lesson four: If making a blended “beach drink,” such as a pina colada, light or white rum is best. “The flavors are a lot less intense and tend to blend better when adding fruit purees or other liquors,” said Williams. “If you have a favorite darker rum, savor it as a topper on your blended drink rather than mixing with it.” For pure sipping, Williams promotes darker rums for their bold flavor profiles and sweet notes of vanilla, caramel, and toffee. “Dark rums are usually smoother on the palate and never need much to enhance the taste.” she noted.

The resort commissioned a barrel of bespoke dark rum to mark an anniversary. (photo courtesy of Four Seasons Resort Nevis)

But, as with any rule, exceptions do exist, as is the case with Kendie’s Kick, a quintessential rum punch beach drink, the prime ingredient of which is dark and rich Crowned Monkey Rum, the bespoke spirit found only at Four Seasons Resort Nevis. Created two years ago in honor of the Resort’s 29th Anniversary, a single barrel was produced by Foursquare Rum Distillery in Barbados and aged 14 years (the final year in Nevis) in a single Jim Beam bourbon barrel, yielding 345 private label bottles. “This rum is a true taste of the Caribbean and the perfect representation of the resort,” said Williams. “You don’t need to do much to it; it’s a smooth sipping rum.” 

At the resort’s neighboring Sunshine’s Beach Bar, the recipe for the (in)famous Killer Bee rum punch remains shrouded in secrecy, but Williams gladly shares the details on Kendie’s Kick. “I like to spread the love,” she said.

Kendie’s Kick

  • 2 oz Crowned Monkey Rum (or any spiced rum)
  • 1 oz Brinley Vanilla Rum
  • 1 oz tamarind purée 
  • 1.5 oz passion fruit purée
  • .5 oz lime juice 
  • 1 dash of Angostura Bitters

Pour all the ingredients into a shaker with ice and strain into glass. Garnish with a slice of lime, and imagine yourself on a Nevis beach.