The Tainos, the ancient people of Jamaica, preserved meat by mixing peppers, allspice and sea salt, a condiment now known as Jamaican jerk spice. Along with influences from British colonists, African immigrants and others, jerk is one of the focal points of modern Jamaican cuisine.
"Tea" in Jamaica refers to drinks hot and brothy, including tea. Fish tea is advertised at roadside stands, and ganja tea, ginger tea, and mint teas are used for pleasure and in folk medicine. The amazing Irish moss is popular as a drink. Irish moss, said to be an aphrodisiac, is a gelatinous extract of seaweed which can be mixed with milk, nutmeg, or rum and used as a drink or jelly.
Red Stripe Beer is the local suds and can be found in every roadside stand throughout the country. The thick Dragon Stout is also popular and a meal in itself (sort of like drinking a loaf of bread), and Heineken beer is brewed locally.
Jamaican liqueurs are especially fine, many with a nice troppo twist including soursop or pawpaw liqueurs. Among them you'll see the famous Tia Maria, made from Jamaica's equally famous coffee. Try pimento liqueur for a sweet, spicy, and powerful drink.
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This page modified January 2007
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