Mauritians are always up for a drink, but it's rare to see drunk locals – for the most part, drinking is a social event rather than an end in itself. Many visitors will stray no further than the bars (and sometimes nightclubs) of their resort, but there are happening nightlife scenes in Grand Baie, Le Caudan Waterfront in Port Louis, and Flic en Flac. Saturday nights on Île aux Cerfs are the stuff of legend.

What to Drink

Mauritians love their cocktail hour, and so you'll nearly always have access to an apéro (aperitif) or a ti punch (small punch) – usually a rum-based fruit cocktail.

Unsurprisingly, the national drink is rum. Although most experts agree that Mauritian rum isn't up to the standard of the Caribbean equivalent, there are still some excellent brands, particularly Green Island, the dark variety of which is superb. An excellent way to gain an insight into local rums is the Rhumerie de Chamarel, where you can see how it's made, have a wonderful meal and try the product. Despite a long history of rum production in Mauritius, the socially preferred spirit tends to be whisky – a hangover from the 150-year British rule.

The national beer is Phoenix, an excellent pilsner produced since the 1960s and a regular prizewinner at festivals around the world. The other premium brand of the brewery, Blue Marlin, is also very good.

Mauritians are also great tea drinkers – you shouldn't miss trying the range of Bois Chéri teas on sale throughout the country. The vanilla tea is the most famous and is quite delicious and refreshing even in the heat of the day. You'll have a chance to see it being made and can taste it at the Bois Chéri tea plantation in southern Mauritius.

During Hindu and Muslim festivals, deliciously flavoured drinks such as lassi (Indian yogurt drink) and almond milk (almond- and cardamom-flavoured milk) are prepared.