From a refreshing local beer to satisfy the thirst as the temperature soars to an exotic
cocktail to toast a spectacular sunset, Aruba offers a dazzling choice for those who
love to raise a glass on holiday.
Watering holes range from chic bars to rustic rum shops on this Dutch Caribbean
island, where familiar concoctions vie with local drinks, including home-grown wine
and alcohol-free fruit-based mixtures, to offer visitors the ultimate refreshment.
For those seeking a classic venue to quench their curiosity, head for the island’s
second city of San Nicolas and the renowned Charlie’s Bar. San Nicolas has until
recently been eclipsed by capital Oranjestad but a rejuvenation programme has
breathed new life into its historic streets. But there has always been Charlie’s Bar,
now run by Charles Broun III, grandson of the original owner, and better-known as
The bar was established in 1941 and was a focal point of the city when San Nicolas
was home to a thriving oil refinery, which played a key role in fuelling the Allied effort
during the Second World War.
Later, it adapted to cater for the invasion of tourists flocking to the island and who
began a tradition of leaving behind odd souvenirs and mementoes. Today, every
inch of Charlie’s Bar is crammed with an enormous variety of eclectic treasures from
all over the globe – a living history of San Nicolas, echoing the footprints of all those
who have enjoyed a visit there.
Says Charlito: ‘My sister and I are privileged to be able to continue this family
tradition. Providing good food and drink, served with genuine care in a fun, friendly
atmosphere is always our goal. Come and see us for fabulous fresh fish, jumbo
shrimp and prime steaks and try our signature ‘Honeymoon’ hot sauce and our
famous ‘Boozer Coladas’.
An even older tradition in Aruba is the rum shops, started a century ago and, fairly
obviously, serving rum, just about the only alcohol then available. It was also a social
centre for the local community, a role they still continue to fulfil today. But cheap,
ice-cold beer is now the staple drink and some of the more modern establishments
offer a barbecue or other hot food and they are a great place to soak up a true
Aruban atmosphere.
Aruba’s multicultural heritage is also reflected in locally-produced drinks. Aruba
Ariba is the island’s most popular tropical cocktail, created in a renowned hotel bar
in the early 1960s and featuring coecoei, a local liquor made to a centuries-old
recipe. Adding to the kick are vodka, rum, crème de banana, a splash of grenadine
and topped off with Grand Marnier.
In addition to coecoei, which combines the sap of agave leaves, rum and can
sugar, Aruba also produces its own signature version of ponche crema by
combining egg yolks, cream, rum and a variety of spices. This rich and smooth
eggnog-like drink is especially popular at Christmas.
Fresh coconut water, prepared to order and served right from the shell with a straw is
a must. Under the mid-afternoon sun, it’s a refreshing and healthy treat. Fresh fruit
shakes are another healthy option, blended with locally-grown fruits, such as
mango, melon, papaya and tamarind.
Wine is, surprisingly, also produced in Aruba. Nestled in the island’s cunucu
(countryside), Vincent Kock has cultivated 600 square metres of land for vines and
produces 400 bottles a year.
The grapes are mainly Arab in origin, suited to hot climates, but they are also mixed
with vines from America and France. In another twist, Vincent blends wine with
island fruits like the cashew fruit and Aruban cherries to produce a markedly ‘fruity’
Beer is also brewed on the island. The Balashi National Brewery produces the crisp
and refreshing Balashi beer, golden in colour and popular with locals and tourists
A perfect island cocktail is infused with Palmera Rum, blended and bottled by hand
at a factory in Oranjestad for the last 45 years. Offering 12 different rum blends, the
most popular with visitors is coconut rum, while local remain loyal to the Palmer Rum
original, known for its oaky sweetness, with hints of vanilla.
And if all else fails, opt for a Balashi Cocktail, the name affectionately given by
Arubans for the island’s drinking water – produced by a state of the art desalination
plant which purifies and filters Caribbean seawater!
For more information about Aruba, go to
For further press information, please contact: Joanna Walding
Tel: 07885 913860
E-mail: [email protected]
Aruba Tourism Authority – UK & Ireland
July 16, 2014
Note to editors: The Dutch Caribbean island of Aruba lies 15 miles north of the South
American coastline, benefitting from year-round sunshine, an average temperature of 32
degrees and a cooling breeze. Located on the edge of the hurricane belt, with a nine mile
stretch of award-winning pristine beach, turquoise seas, colonial Dutch architecture and a
Latin vibe, Aruba is a delightful alternative Caribbean experience. KLM Royal Dutch Airlines
operates to Aruba five times a week, with departures from 15 UK airports via its international
hub at Amsterdam Schiphol. Thomson Airways operates weekly charter departures from
London Gatwick from May to October. Leading tour operators offering packages to Aruba
include Thomson Holidays, First Choice, Kuoni, Tropical Sky and Black Tomato.

0714 Toasting Aruba