Best of Both Worlds: Trinidad’s Tea-Infused Chai Rum

August 16, 2013

Words by Tishanna Williamsโ€”


It’s National Rum Day here in the U.S., so we thought we’d scour the Caribbean for something new to drink. Trini correspondent Tishanna Williams has the scoop on a chai rum launching from her island.

Nothing says Caribbean like starting your day with a hot cup of tea made from leaves you picked from your yard, or ending your evening watching the sun go down with a glass of premium dark rum. But, what would happen if you combined those two perfect, yet opposite, Caribbean moments? This is obviously the question that the Akal family, owners of Trinidad’s SMAKS Luxury Group, asked themselves when devising their new Chai Rum.

The dark amber color, heady aroma and velvet finish of Chai Rum are unique, produced by an innovative production process currently under patent. Slightly nutty at the start, the notes quickly flow into vanilla, exotic spice and caramel, redolent of rum’s history of global adventure. Though the combination of tea with rum was first recorded by sailor adventurers in the mid-17th century, SMAKS has with their product introduced a sophisticated, sipping delight in this exceptional, limited-reserve rum, infused with tea and botanicals.

SMAKS began as a luxury gift shop manned by the matriarch of the family, and moved into the tea business with the return of son, Kiran Akal. Its teas have since won several international awards, and were also presented to Queen Elizabeth II for the Diamond Jubilee. Befitting an elite luxury brand, Akal’s insistence on product quality and appreciation for Caribbean culture and legacy demands great time be spent on every aspect of the company’s aesthetic. Their Chai Rum is no different, moving the brand into a new arena with a truly unique product.

Chai Rum is carded to hit the Caribbean market in Trinidad, Barbados, Jamaica and St. Thomas by November and, according to Mr. Akal, will be in the U.S by 2014. Already, samples of the product have received stellar reviews from the most avid of rum drinkers to those who claimed to not generally like the taste of alcohol. Thinking this product may be out of your price range? Think again. With the belief that luxury should be within the reach of everyone who desires it, the rum is reasonably priced, beginning at $90US a bottle. The main issue for anyone wishing to acquire it may be the growing reservation listing, since only 9,000 bottles will be initially produced.

To special reserve SMAKS Luxury Group Chai Rum, requests can be emailed to: