Sipping Saba Spice at Queens Garden Resort Saba

Saba Spice: The Incredibly Addictive Drink I Continue to Crave

Last updated Aug 9, 2022 | Food & Wine, Saba

If you have been to the tiny little Caribbean Island called Saba, you may have heard of the mysterious rum Saba Spice. What is it? How do you drink it? Where can you sample it? I had so many questions. I love trying out the food and drink unique to a place, so I searched out this distinctive liquor. Here is my account.

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What is Saba Spice

Saba Spice is a spiced rum. Rum is made from sugar, which can be pure cane sugar, a syrup, or molasses. There are several subcategories of rum. One is flavored rum aka spiced rum, which is made by adding fruits and/or spices. This process is similar to how juniper and botanicals are added to gin. 

Islanders have been making spiced rum for centuries, but the Captain Morgan Rum brand made it popular. Every Caribbean Island has its own unique recipe. For example, the Dominican Republic is known for the mamajuana, which is a spiced rum made from tree bark, Dominican herbs, red wine, and honey.

Most families on each island then add their own spin to their spiced rum recipe. Spices that can be used are ginger, pepper, cinnamon, star anise, nutmeg, vanilla, cardamom, and clove. Fruit extracts can also be infused such as coconut, banana, pineapple, mango, and orange peel. The spices give the spiced rum its dark color. 

The families on Saba keep their Saba Spice recipe a secret, but I believe the spices used are cinnamon, clove, and fennel. I’m usually not a licorice fan. But I really enjoyed the hint of black licorice the fennel gave the Saba Spice. It’s different but quite addictive.

Where to Try Saba Spice

I had the pleasure of trying out this special liquor at two places. One was Queen’s Garden Resort, our hotel in Saba. We had a lovely dinner in the Bird’s Nest and then enjoyed Saba Spice as an after-dinner digestif. 

I believe most locals enjoy it over ice, but we had it neat. Great way to end a meal! 

The second place we sampled it was at the restaurant The Hideaway in Windwardside. I love having port after dinner, and Saba Spice is a great alternative. It had a distinct licorice flavor both times I tried it, so I’m assuming fennel is the featured spice. Delicious!

Lake Bohinj in Slovenia

Sipping spiced rum at The Hideaway

Where to Purchase Saba Spice 

There is a souvenir shop called Everyt’ings in Windwardside that sells local Saba Spice. Unfortunately, they were closed when we stopped by, so we never had a chance to pick up a bottle. I guess that gives me yet another reason to come back to Saba! 

Everyt’ings in Windwardside in Saba

Everyt’ings in Windwardside in Saba

Final Thoughts 

I love experiencing a destination through its food and drink. Saba Spice is part of Caribbean culture, and it was fun to try a local’s house recipe. I just wish I was able to bring a bottle home with me because now I will be craving that unique flavor! 

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Have you tried this type of spiced rum? Any other thoughts on what’s in the secret house recipe?

Let me know in the comments below!

5 Comments

  1. Mark barrett

    I have been to Saba if your agile enough you can climb up the stephan to the capital.of Hells hole

    Reply
    • Mark

      There is a dockage on the North side of the Island. And a shuttle into Hells Hole. Please try some Saba spice. You will wish you will wish you had bought some home

      Reply
      • Nichole

        Yes, love Saba spice. Very unique flavor. We tried it at a few restaurants. The only place I found that sold it was the Everyt’ings store, but it was closed when we stopped by. Next time!

        Reply
  2. Jim

    Saba – what a neat place! I brought home a bottle of Saba Spice many years ago. It was opened then, but somehow only enjoyed infrequently since then. It still looks and smells wonderful, but I wonder if it’s still ok to drink?

    Reply
    • Nichole

      Yes, Saba really is a unique place! My understanding is if rum is stored properly (cool dry place away from heat/sunlight), its shelf life is indefinite. However, it loses its taste/flavor over time once it’s opened. Spiced/flavored rum loses its flavor even faster as compared to pure rum.

      If you opened Saba Spice a few years ago and it was stored properly, it shouldn’t be unsafe to drink but it may not taste quite the same. If you end up trying it again, let me know how it held up. I’m curious.

      Reply

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