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7 Interesting Facts About Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Cocktail

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The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club cocktail, sometimes simply called a Bermuda cocktail, has a fascinating history behind its refreshing taste. This gin-based drink has naval origins and deep connections to the island of Bermuda.

Let’s explore some of the most intriguing facts about this iconic cocktail:


The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club cocktail has been a staple drink in Bermuda since the early 1900s. While enjoying island life, many visitors and locals have sipped this gin and fruit juice blend on the beaches and docks of Bermuda.

Beyond just being a tropical refreshment, this cocktail has noteworthy roots in British naval history and traditions on the island. Its exact origins are debated, but its ties to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club and British officers stationed in Bermuda are undeniable.

Below are 7 interesting facts about the history, ingredients, and enduring popularity of the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club cocktail:

7 Facts About the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club Cocktail

1. It was invented at the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club

The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club was established in 1844 by British army officers stationed in Bermuda. Some sources claim a British naval officer created the cocktail at the club and named it after the club sometime between 1900 and 1930.

While the exact inventor and date are unknown, the drink’s name certainly pays homage to the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club located in the island’s capital city of Hamilton.

2. It traditionally includes Bermuda black seal rum

The original Royal Bermuda Yacht Club cocktail is made with Gosling’s Black Seal rum – a dark rum blend produced in Bermuda since 1806.

The black seal refers to the branding of a wax seal that is still placed on each Gosling’s rum bottle to designate its authentic Bermuda origins.

3. Modern versions use gin instead of rum

Over time, modern versions of the cocktail began swapping rum for gin likely due to changing tastes and gin’s surging popularity in the 20th century.

Today, most Bermuda cocktails are made with gin as the base spirit – though purists still insist on using Gosling’s Black Seal rum for a true taste of Bermuda.

4. It includes the juice of fresh citrus fruits

The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club cocktail gets its refreshing, tropical flavor from fresh citrus juices. The most common combination is:

  • Fresh lime juice
  • Fresh grapefruit juice

The lime adds delightful tartness, while the grapefruit provides a touch of sweetness. When freshly squeezed and mixed with gin or rum, these juices perfectly encapsulate bright Bermudian flavors.

5. The exact recipe is loose and varies

While the core ingredients have stayed the same, their exact proportions differ depending on who is making it. The combination of citrus juices also varies, sometimes including orange, lemon, or pineapple juice.

This has led to lively debates between Bermuda locals about what makes an “authentic” Royal Bermuda Yacht Club cocktail.

6. It’s garnished with a lime wedge or wheel

No matter the exact recipe, most versions of the cocktail call for a lime garnish.

The lime wedge or wheel is an essential finishing touch that adds a visual pop of color and a refreshing splash of juice when squeezed over the drink.

7. It remains a staple drink in Bermuda beach clubs and resort bars

The Royal Bermuda Yacht Club cocktail is still a beloved staple across the island’s beach clubs, resort bars, and restaurants.

Locals and visitors alike enjoy sipping this gin or rum tropical drink while watching pink sand beaches and turquoise waves – just as British naval officers and Bermudian boaters did back in the early 20th century.


With its naval origins and signature Bermudian ingredients, the Royal Bermuda Yacht Club cocktail is an icon of island history and culture. Its roots run deep into traditions of British seafaring and local rum production.

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