Bacardi Rum: As Cuban as Rumba

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There was an article about Bacardi Rum in yesterday’s LA Times Food Section that caught my eye.  I’m not a mixologist but I appreciate good rum.  In Cuba they put it in regular glasses and you drink it straight at room temperature.  Which doesn’t rule out going to La Bogedita del Medio to get a strong, fragrant mojito that will kick your ass. But it won’t be with Bacardi.  It will be Havana Club, the closest things the Cubans get get to the original Bacardi formula.

Why is that?  Because the Bacardi family escaped from Cuba before the January 1st, 1959 Cuban revolution, taking the famous and secret yeast formula with them.  That’s what the LA Times article was all about.

It struck a bell with me because I’m fortunate to have a famous photograph that the great Cuban photographer Raul Corrales–whom even the more famous Cuban photographer Korda called the best photographer in Cuba—of a militia returning from liberating and requisitioning the Bacardi factory.  They got everything but the yeast: The most important thing.

Rum has figured in both enological and historical events.   It certainly is mentioned in a lot of classic Cuban songs, such as “tabaco y ron”.   There’s also the French winemaker in Cognac visited Haiti around 1850 and started Barbancourt Rum, made straight from sugar cane and without molasses.  I bought a bottle of the 15 year-old after the Haitian earthquake.  And the Boston Tea Party wasn’t really about tea:  it was about rum.  Rum–and grog made from it—was the favored drink of American colonists on the east coast, and they preferred French rum from Haiti and the French Antilles–Guadeloupe and Martinique–over the rum from the British Caribbean colonies of Barbados and Bermuda.  The British government imposed large tariffs to try to get the Americans to buy rum from the British colonies, and the colonists revolted by dumping tons of tea into Boston Harbor.

Check out the LA Times article.  It’s an interesting read.  And think about all this when you enjoy your next shot of Bacardi, straight-up or gracing a mojito.  Here’s the link to the LA Times Food Section article: