Rum Journal: In Antigua, Having a Drink With Horatio Nelson

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Above: the Admiral’s Inn in Antigua (All photos by CJ)

By Alexander Britell

ANTIGUA — Nelson drank here, they say. Almost certainly. And maybe he still does.

And when you sit here, in what was once a store for pitch tar and turpentine, you feel his spirit.

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This is the Admiral’s Inn in Nelson’s Dockyard in Antigua, and it’s one of those rare places in the Caribbean where multiple centuries flow through the bricks and the walls.

This place, which became a boutique hotel in 1960, is also home to a wonderful, historic bar.

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It’s here at Pillar’s Bar in the hotel lobby where the evening means a few rum cocktails and the palpable energy of time.

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Nelson’s Dockyard is a marvelous place, the place you cannot go to Antigua without visiting.

It’s a charming amalgam of areas and eras; New England, England, the Caribbean; the colonial period and the years of naval battles.

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They all find a home in this beautifully-preserved neighbourhood, one of the few true extant reminders of the beginning of the New World.

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And at night, Nelson’s Dockyard, which is still a working dockyard by day, calms down, and the old dockyards glow and then, for a moment, you’re somewhere else entirely.

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And all it takes is a glass of rum.

— CJ