In Puerto Rico, rum production is a business of great tradition, dating back more than 100 years for some companies. When compared to other countries, Puerto Rico is a small nation, but it’s an important maker of rums on an international scale. Learn about five of the rums you should try when mixing drinks or tasting it on its own – there’s no need to wait for Thirsty Thursdays.
Founded in Cuba by Facundo Bacardi Masso over 150 years ago, Bacardi has overcome various challenges throughout the company’s history, the largest of all probably being the takeover of Bacardi facilities in Cuba by the Cuban government in the 1960s. The brand has had an important facility in Cataño, Puerto Rico, since the 1930s. According to their website, the Cataño distillery is “the largest premium rum distillery in the world.” Since 2003 visitors can go to the Bacardi Visitor Center located at that Cataño distillery to learn more about the family-owned company and its products. Other well-known brands that are part of the Bacardi business portfolio are Grey Goose vodka, Dewar’s whisky, Bombay Sapphire gin and Cazadores tequila.
Named after a type of limestone found widely in the surrounding area, Caliche Rum was created by businessman Rande Gerber and Roberto Serrallés from the Serralés Distillery. The distillery has been in the Serrallés family for six generation and today it claims to produce two thirds of the rum in Puerto Rico. An aged white rum, its flavors include vanilla, oak, and caramel. The 150-year-old distillery prides itself on sustainable and ecological modern production methods.
Approximately 80 years old, Don Q is one of the most famous rums with ties to Puerto Rico. Sugarcane businessman Juan Serrallés created the first cask of rum that would lead to his rum business in 1865 in southern Puerto Rico. Named after Miguel de Cervantes’ famous literary character Don Quixote, Don Q the rum was launched in 1934, when the US prohibition – which included Puerto Rico – ended. The Serrallés Distillery – alongside Caliche rum – currently produces several Don Q brands, including Don Q Cristal, Don Q Añejo, Don Q Gold, and Don Q Limon.
Similar to Don Q and Caliche rum, Palo Viejo is also manufactured by the Serrallés Distillery. In 2015 the brand expanded with the creation of Palo Ready, a drink that comes in a pouch and is made up of Palo Viejo rum with various juices to create cocktails including sangria, limoncillo and rum punch.
Created by Pedro F. Fernández in 1871 on what used to be his father’s sugarcane plantation, Ron del Barrilito gets its name because the rum is aged in barrels. His family, four of whom are among the company’s nine employees, uses the same formula Fernández invented for guests to his plantation. A popular, local rum in Puerto Rico, including those on this list, Ron del Barrilito is part of the island’s rich rum tradition.