Great Exuma’s Doctor of Libation

Lermon Rolle

Finding a legend at the Pool Deck bar

By Alexander Britell

GEORGE TOWN – You walk through an antique lobby to a pool deck with a red umbrella and the brightest turquoise sea you’ve ever seen.

There is a small blue bar just off the deck with rum bottles and a man behind the counter in a blue tropical shirt.

Pool Deck

The Pool Deck at Peace & Plenty in Georgetown

He calls himself the Doctor of Libation, and he is the bartender you have been looking for.

Plenty2

For nearly a half century, Lermon Rolle has been just that, tending bar at the Peace & Plenty hotel in Great Exuma, a historic property that is one of the Caribbean’s most legendary places to stay, open since 1958.

This is a charming small hotel that shows its years — but that’s a very good thing, because there are few places left like this anywhere.

The Peace & Plenty hotel in downtown George Town, Great Exuma

The Peace & Plenty hotel in downtown George Town, Great Exuma

And that’s in large part due to Rolle, who has served up rum punches to everyone from Jimmy Buffett to Prince Philip, a throwback to the days when a bartender didn’t just serve drinks, whose art was improving days.

And Lermon Rolle will improve your day.

Lermon Rolle's classic rum punch

Lermon Rolle’s classic rum punch

He is a bartender and a legend, a man whose name and reputation always sail back with the boaters who travel to this blue outpost of the Bahamian archipelago.

First, there is the rum punch, which is perfect, followed by a cold club soda over ice — because summer in Exuma is hot.

Plenty4

“You make a great club soda,” I tell him, because it seems that Lermon Rolle can even make a can of Schweppes taste better.

He has been at this for decades, honing the perfect rum punch recipe and explaining the wonders of the Exumas to the pilgrims who have come to Exuma to see the world’s most stunningly blue water, if a color like this can even be called blue.

This has been his office for half a century, and it would be no surprise to still see him here, offering up a rum punch, in another 50 years.

“Hard work pays off,” he says. “Look at my backyard.”