In Search of the Caribbean’s Only Cactus Liqueur

By: Caribbean Journal Staff - November 30, 2014

By Sarah Greaves-Gabbadon
CJ Travel Editor

“Have you ever tried drinking a cactus?” the tour guide asks, knowing full well what my answer will be.

But I’m here at Cadushy of Bonaire, where they make a liqueur of the same name from the Dutch Caribbean island’s Kadushi cactus, to remedy that situation.


In the town of Rincon, about 20 minutes’ drive from the capital of Kralendijk, the “factory” is tiny, and you can pretty much see the entire four-year-old operation through the metal gate; just a couple of open-front buildings in a small concrete courtyard embellished with cactus plants and brightly painted signs.


The complimentary tour – “It’s really just an explanation,” my guide, Petri says wryly. “I don’t use a megaphone and we don’t need a golf cart.” – only takes about 10 minutes, during which Petri tells me how the unique spirit is made.


Basically the cactus is peeled and the membrane just underneath the outer skin cut into strips and put into an aluminum baking pan. The pan of peel is transferred to a “highly sophisticated dehydrator” (the dashboard of the Cadushy pickup truck), where it bakes in the sun for two days. Islanders traditionally use dried peel to make cactus tea, soup and as a natural remedy, but the distillery combines the strips with yeast and sorghum, the only grain that grows on the arid isle. After two weeks the mixture is distilled twice and becomes the 80 proof alcohol base of all Cadushy products, which include not only the cactus liqueur.


There’s a cactus vodka (described as “smooth with a spiny character”); Captain Don whiskey, made with bourbon, rye and scotch aged with Cuban tobacco leaves in French oak barrels; and Rum Rincon, made with Suriname molasses and local wild basil. There’s also a collection of five other Dutch Caribbean-themed liqueurs, but the cactus is only used in the vodka and its namesake, Cadushy.


Which is the neon green liquid in the tiny plastic cup I’m now bringing gingerly to my lips. It tastes simultaneously sweet, herbal, floral and aromatic. It tastes … well … green. I’m not sure that I’d drink it neat, but I can see how, just like its cousin Blue Curacao, it would work well in a cocktail. I get out my credit card and pay for a bottle to take home. Truth is, I may never even open it. But that doesn’t really matter. Because at least now I can say that I’ve drunk a cactus.

Cadushy of Bonaire costs $25 for a 500ml bottle, and is sold exclusively on Bonaire. A 40 ml miniature is $12, and fits neatly in your quart-sized Ziploc, so even travelers who never check a bag can indulge (responsibly) in the island spirit.

Popular Posts all-inclusive montego bay resort by marriott

Marriott Just Opened Its New All-Inclusive Resort in Montego Bay 

Marriott has continued its rapid expansion into the Caribbean all-inclusive space with the debut of its newest adults-only resort in Montego Bay: the new Hideaway at Royalton Blue Waters, An Autograph Collection All-Inclusive Resort.  The 352-room resort is part of […]

Yes, You Can Stay at an All-Inclusive Resort in St Thomas, USVI

the beach at the bolongo bay resort

The Bolongo Bay Beach Resort on St. Thomas may be the most popular all-inclusive resort you’ve never heard of. It’s not that the resort itself isn’t well-known: this family-run and managed, beach resort has been in business since 1974. But […]

A New Way to Fly Nonstop to the Turks and Caicos Islands

beach at the palms in providenciales

While Silver Airways has been steadily expanding its network in the Caribbean out of San Juan, Puerto Rico, it’s easy to forget that the carrier is actually based in South Florida.  For years, Silver has been operating a host of […]

Related Posts puerto vallarta all-inclusive

Wyndham Debuts New Look at Puerto Vallarta All-Inclusive 

The new-look, renamed Wyndham Alltra Vallarta all-inclusive has made its debut in the Nuevo Vallarta area just north of Puerto Vallarta.  Playa Hotels and Resorts says the property has undergone a renovation that amounted to a “significant investment,” with an […]

This Caribbean Home Just Listed for $65 Million 

The home is on the market now for $65m

It’s one of the most expensive listings in the Caribbean right now: a seven-bedroom beachfront estate that just hit the market for $65 million, Caribbean Journal Invest has learned.  The 11,625-square-foot home, called Illawarra House, is set on a 0.92-acre […]

At This Caribbean Museum, a Trip to Space 

the opening of the exhibit in antigua

Antigua and Barbuda’s Keisha Schahaff and Anastasia Mayers made history in August when they became the first Caribbean women to travel to space, making the journey on Virgin Galactic.  Now, the mother-daughter duo’s journey is being commemorated in a new […]


Sign up for Caribbean Journal's free newsletter for a daily dose of beaches, hotels, rum and the best Caribbean travel information on the net.

No. Thank You