If there’s one spirit that conjures instant associations of white sand beaches, late night bachata and blistering summer sun, it’s BACARDÍ rum. For centuries, rum has been the tipple of choice to beat the heat — making BACARDÍ the perfect partner to kick off the Life is Beautiful festival last weekend with Rolling Stone, in fabulous – and, let’s face it, feverish – Las Vegas.
It’s no wonder the BACARDÍ rum has become known as the drink that keeps its cool, the brand’s reputation for resilience runs deep. It was El Coco, the coconut palm planted in front of the original Cuban distillery by the son of founder Facundo Bacardí Massó, that first became a symbol of the brand’s longevity — surviving hurricanes, earthquakes and even a distillery fire since its planting in the 1860s. With El Coco serving as a good luck charm, BACARDÍ rose to become a Cuban institution, before finding a second home in Puerto Rico in the 1930s, where the rum brand is now crafted today. Now, the brand is not only an American classic but the foundation of many now- household cocktails that have seeped into the mainstream.
First up is a staple in the arsenal of any bartender (and a favorite among rum fans). Long before the vodka-soda-lime there was the Mismo, a BACARDÍ-based cocktail invented in 1899. Created at the Cosmopolitan Club in Santiago, the country’s second-largest city and the Bacardí family’s hometown, local lore dictates that a group of Americans eager to fit in among their Cuban colleagues took cues from their drink order. When one Cuban ordered a BACARDÍ rum and seltzer, and his friend asked for “lo mismo,” the Americans mistook the Spanish translation of “the same” for the name of the cocktail. Following suit, they called for a full round of “los mismos.”
When the Americans returned to order more “lo mismo”s from the same bartender the following day, the mismo was officially born. Since, the drink has become a favorite among rum-aficionados hoping for a quick, ultra-refreshing cocktail before heading back on the dance floor. It pairs well with rhythmicity of Afro-Latin music – from Princess Nokia to Afro-Puerto Rican production group Luny Tunes’ contributions – and has even been adopted as a band name (see: popular Mexican group, Los Mismos).
If you’re a Hemingway fan, Havana frequenter or fiend a fruity tipple, we’re willing to bet money you’ve had a dalliance or two with a daiquiri. At the Rolling Stone LIB kick-off, BACARDÍ will be serving up the classic cocktail with a twist in tribute to the great American novelist’s long-time love affair with Cuba. It all started at La Floridita, the legendary Havana bar that would famously become Ernest Hemingway’s watering hole throughout his 20-year stint in Cuba. After tasting a daiquiri (which features white rum, lime and granulated sugar, all shaken with crushed ice), Hemingway, affectionately referred to as ‘Papa’ throughout Cuba, requested the bartender revise the drink “without sugar and double the rum.” The ‘papa doble,’ as it became known, was henceforth Hemingway’s drink of choice.
The ‘Hemingway daiquiri’ has since evolved — now generally served with a single pour of rum in homage to the writer’s favorite drink, while retaining the same lip-smacking flavor that made it famous. In fact, it’s likely the drink’s versatility that prompted the unending musical tributes to the daiquiri (emo fans will remember Panic! At The Disco’s “peach and lime daiquiri,” lead singer Brendon Urie’s favorite drink at the time of writing A Fever You Can’t Sweat Out). While cocktail blogs pair the drink with Camila Cabello’s “Havana” in ode to its Cuban roots, you can have just as an authentic experience sipping papa dobles and dancing the salsa, mambo or cha-cha-cha — all styles that originated from Cuba.
Of course, when it comes to the taste of the tropics, even a daiquiri may struggle to best the ultimate frozen delight, the Piña Colada. Perhaps the most disputed of the three cocktails in terms of origin, the Piña Colada’s inception has often been attributed to Puerto Rican pirate Roberto Cofresí, who allegedly boosted the morale of his crew with the now-fundamental concoction of coconut, pineapple and white rum in the early 1800s.
That hasn’t stopped several Puerto Rican joints from taking credit for the drink as we know it. Old San Juan restaurant Barrachina believes it was their bartender, Don Portas Mingot, who created the cocktail in 1963, while the Caribe Hilton Hotel claims bartender Ramón “Monchito” Marrero spent three months perfecting the recipe that would be served to the likes of Hollywood actress Joan Crawford, who allegedly endorsed the drink among Hollywood’s elite circles. Whoever the originator, the Piña Colada well and truly belongs to Puerto Rico, and it’s been raising morale ever since its inception. Rupert Holmes’ 1979 hit “Escape: The Piña Colada song” has been covered by Jimmy Buffet and even Jack Johnson, appearing in many films from Ben Stiller’s The Secret Life of Walter Mitty to Bewitched with Nicole Kidman. Obviously, the song is a must when indulging in an ice cold, frothy piña colada, but if you want to keep things slightly more contemporary, give “Two Piña Coladas” by Garth Brooks a go.
Another BACARDÍ-based drink truly worth its salt – or lime – is a more recent addition to Puerto Rico’s superior cocktail portfolio. In 2018, world-renowned mixologist and San Juan-native Nicole Fas won the BACARDÍ Legacy Cocktail Competition the ‘ritmo tropical,’ a drink inspired by “spirit of the Caribbean” that features lime and pineapple juice, as well BACARDÍ Añejo Cuatro, vermouth and the slightest hint of absinthe. The cocktail is not only a testament to BACARDÍ rum’s versatility, but its capacity to inspire and evolve with each new generation — not unlike the many Puerto Rican artists bridging Latin and Western cultures. Mix-up a rito tropical and queue up Puerto Rican-natives Bad Bunny, Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, Ozuna, Farruko, Don Omar…the list goes on.
At the recent Life Is Beautiful kick-off party with Rolling Stone, BACARDÍ served several signature rum cocktails alongside hand-picked talent from the brand’s legacy ‘Music Liberates Music’ program. Attendees mellowed out to melodic London export Benjiflow, before Ric Wilson turned up the tempo with disco-seasoned rap. Bringing island vibes by the boat-load, BACARDÍ transported Life Is Beautiful attendees from the desert to the tropics. Basically, any time there’s BACARDÍ involved, you can expect an unforgettable fiesta of piña coladas, and, with any luck, being caught in the rain.
[RG1]These early daiquiris weren’t blended, they were shaken, and the early daiquiris Hemingway would have enjoyed would have been without maraschino.