Founded by Don Facundo Bacardí Massó, who originated Barcadi Rum in 1862, Casa Bacardi in Catano, Puerto Rico is the worlds biggest rum distillery. The Bacardi family has made sure that you get this exact sense as soon as you walk into their gates. Not only is the free tour of the distillery entertaining and inebriating (you get two free Bacardi Rum cocktails at the end) but it’s also educational. You get to learn the history of the Bacardi family, no doubt one of the greatest names ever to walk the Caribbean, and journey through the process of creating one of the best Rums your tongue has ever tasted.
The Bacardi family has been conducting these tours ever since 1962 and the first thing you see when you enter the complex is the big bat sign that symbolizes the Bacardi brand. The story of the Bacardi Rum bat logo goes all the way back to 1862. The original distillery wasn’t as fancy then. It was a simple structure that was made out of rafters that happened to be home to fruit bats. And hence, the bat logo.
As you take the one hour tour through the ‘Kings of Rum’ castle, you will be taken through the interactive exhibit room where you will run through the history of Bacardi and their magic making process. There is a recreation of the first distillery, photos of Bacardi Rum’s history and you get to check out a display of the different blends and varieties of this great Caribbean spirit.
You also get to learn how to ferment rum! Well, not detailed enough so you can replicate your own at home but the basic steps that go into making it. You learn that there are two fermentation processes, Bacardi rum’s that are meant for sipping and specific ones that are great for mixing into cocktails. They also let you in on what they do with the by-products.
During the tour, you get a veteran bartender to teach you how to make three of the original Bacardi Rum cocktails that are rather popular even now: The Cuba Libre, which is basically Rum and coke with a slice of lime. The Daiquiri which is sugar, ice, lime juice and light rum and the original Mojito which is made with spearmint leaves.
And as promised, the tour ends with the guests going back to the Pavilion to order two of their favorite Bacardi drinks. Either that or you can try out something new. Once you are hammered well and good, you can visit the gift shop, where you get to buy any of their fine products at a reduced and friendly rate. You also get to see some of their greatest productions on display. The one that stands out the most is the exclusive 12 year aged rum called ‘Reserva Limitada’.
Sounds like a dream doesn’t it? The best part is that it’s not that difficult to get there. You can either take one of the numerous tours that run through to Casa Bacardi or just hope on the ferry from San Juan to Cataño and from there take a taxi to the Bacardi Plant.