by Alicia Wallace
If rum is what you want, you’ve come to the right place. The Rum Runners Passage is aptly named for our history of bringing this sought-after product to the people who know and love it, and it’s a tradition we are happy to continue.
You’ve probably heard about “The Real McCoy,” but did you know he — Bill McCoy — operated from Nassau?
From 1920s into the early 1930s, the U.S. prohibition was in effect and this created a lucrative industry for people in The Bahamas. Nassau had the perfect geographical location for rum runners to replenish stock before making their way to rum row (the U.S. border). They smuggled Caribbean rum and whiskey from Great Britain into the U.S. along The Great Whiskey Way, and it was distributed through speakeasies. Rum runners often increased their profits by watering down the product. Fortunately for you, we don’t do that any more. What you get is 100% rum — the real mccoy.
Rum Runners Passage takes you on a journey far less dangerous, but full of wonder. One of our favorite stops is Graycliff Chocolatier where you get your rum in a special package — bite-size chocolate!
Here are a few reason we’re looking forward to taking you to Graycliff:
Graycliff is no johnny come lately. Parts of the original structure are almost 300 years old. The property has seen numerous notable people including Martin Luther King, Jr. and Sir Winston Churchill. The restaurant was the first five-star restaurant in the Caribbean, serving Bahamian dishes with a European flair. Graycliff has been known for its superior quality, excellent service, and atmosphere of luxury. The chocolate factory is a fairly new addition and a major attraction for residents and visitors alike.
Location, location, location
We love a spot that’s near other places of interest and allow for casual meandering. Graycliff is mere steps away from Government House which sits on 10 acres of land at Mount Fitzwilliam. It was built in 1801, and the statue of Christopher Columbus was put in place in 1830. While many Bahamians believe it should be removed given the truth about Columbus’ affect on the islands, it remains on site. Graycliff is also near the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas, a leading art institution housed in the Villa Doyle which connects the downtown area to the Over-the-Hill residential community. Directly opposite the National Art Gallery of The Bahamas is St. Francis Xavier Cathedral — the oldest Roman Catholic Church in The Bahamas — which was consecrated in 1887. All of this is just a stone’s throw away from the hustle and bustle of Bay Street, downtown Nassau.
Samples are great, no ifs, ands, or buts about it. We just have to acknowledge the greatness that is education. We love that Graycliff shares its chocolate-making process with its visitors, from cocoa beans to beautiful works of art that it almost feels wrong to eat. The staff is highly skilled, friendly, and excited about showing the workspace and process. You probably won’t go home and start making chocolate from scratch after the tour, but you’ll definitely gain a greater appreciation for all that goes into making everyone’s favorite treat.
Of course we have to say it. The chocolate is incredible. Each one is an absolutely beauty and you know, just by looking at them, that whoever made it has to be confident that the flavor is worth the destruction of their art. They are right. There is nothing quite like Bahamian-made chocolate, and your samples will definitely lead you to buy more. You may think you’re doing to share it with friends at home, but take it from us — you won’t.
Aside from the hotel, restaurant, and chocolate, Graycliff is well-known for its cigars. We bet you weren’t expecting that! Hotel, restaurant, pizzeria, chocolatier, and cigar company. Cigar production started in 1997 with just one roller and has expanded to 16 experts. Graycliff Cigar Company produces five brands, and visitors can watch the torcedores (that’s the fancy name master rollers are given) at work. Graycliff is all about immersive experiences and, even if you’re not into cigars, it’s amazing to watch the craftsmen work their magic. You can even take a cigar rolling lesson (booked separately).
The Heritage Museum of The Bahamas in Mountbatten House opened in 2014, and it is open to visitors from 9am to 5pm. It contains pieces from various eras including piracy and slavery. Heritage Village also includes artist studios featuring work by Jessica Colebrooke, Xan-Xi Bethel, Judson Eneas, and Holly Parotti among others. Work available for purchase includes pottery, jewelry, and sneakers finished with plaited straw.
See why Graycliff is a must see? Get your rum fix and satisfy your chocolate craving all at once. This is just one of the stops on our Rum Runners Passage tour. We’re looking forward to spending a few hours with you. Let’s walk, talk, sip, and laugh together, basking in the unmatched Bahama breeze and sunshine. If you’re ready for the real mccoy, click here to book.