More than just a tasty addition to ginger beer or Coke, rum has deep, longstanding roots in the many varied cultures of the Caribbean and its surrounding areas. The drink’s history and impact on island life, music and celebration is undeniable, and no island party is worth its lime and salt without a bottle or three of rum making an appearance. With this in mind, BACARDÍ – arguably the world’s foremost rum authority – have set itself the not insignificant task of exploring the cultural value of the sugarcane spirit and to once and for all define the ‘Sound of Rum.’
To launch this initiative and kick summer off with a bang, this weekend BACARDÍ threw a huge, suitably tropical party on the outskirts of Miami that brought together the myriad of Caribbean influences that make rum so special. The finest tropical kitchens such as Trinidadian specialists Pearl’s, Puerto Rican bar/restaurant La Factoria, Haitian heroes Chef Creole and Jamaican food OG’s Truck Stop, were on hand to keep revellers well fed with delicious morsels of Caribbean cuisine and custom cocktails whilst music was provided by Cashmere Cat and Caribbean music behemoths, Major Lazer.
Acting as ambassadors in BACARDÍ’s quest to define the ‘Sound of Rum,’ Major Lazer’s blend of musical influences, that includes everything to Afrobeat to Trap to Dancehall, means they’re perfectly suited to investigate the eclectically diverse roots of rum. Breaking down barriers between the variety of genres present in the Caribbean, from Soca to Grime, the partnership between BACARDÍ and Major Lazer will last a full year, and the brand have a host of events, experiences and musical offerings in store.
To prove its commitment to the cause,BACARDÍ recently appointed Jillionaire, one third of the Moombahton giants, as the brand’s official ‘Minister of Rum.’
Scroll through gallery above for everything that went down at the party, check out the video detailing Jillionaire’s involvement here, and be sure to read our interview with the man himself on what he has planned with BACARDÍ below.
Congratulations on your appointment. What exactly are your duties as BACARDÍ’s Minister of Rum?
It’s mostly about communication and a little bit of education. Rum has always been an unsung hero in the alcohol world in that people drink rum when they’re in college and they drink too much cheap rum and then they stop drinking it and they move on to vodka, whiskey, or whatever, and I think we just want to help bring rum back into the popular consciousness and give it some context. Let people know that it’s a cool and fun drink and that it’s a good thing for the summer time as well. I love it, so why not?
Why are you guys the ‘Sound of Rum?’
We have a lot of similarities actually. We all come from close to the Caribbean, I’m from Trinidad, Walsh is from Jamaica, and Diplo is from South Florida. BACARDÍ has strong Caribbean roots and we have all come up based on cultural diversity, in terms of being able to go all over the world and adapt to different cultures and investigate them and take what we learnt and what we see and bring it back and involve it in our music, and BACARDÍ has always signified Caribbean creativity. When you think of rum, you think of the islands and you think of BACARDÍ, so the two things kind of go hand in hand, both from a physical standpoint, but also from a cultural one I guess.
What do you like to mix with your rum?
We do a lot of coconut water, a splash of coconut water. If you can’t get coconut water, I like to do a splash of soda and little bit of lime and that’s very refreshing. One of the biggest misconceptions has come from Tiki drinks. Like you go to a Tiki bar and order a drink and there’s like 20 things that go into it, and it’s very complicated to make. And it’s also expensive so you only order one drink, and then you’re like ‘I can’t do this again, I’m not going to wait 20 minutes for this drink’. But if you were to present it in a context where you were just using 3-4 ingredients max, fresh juices or spices, it’s easier to consume it and it’s also easier to understand. Some people think of rum as the cheapest spirit, because that’s what they’d get when they were at college and then they drink it until they throw up but there’s a lot more to it than that.
So your ministerial roll is to build that understanding?
Yes and to build rum bars around the world!
BACARDÍ and Major Lazer have a host of events and announcements planned for the summer, so be sure to check back as we’ll be keeping a close eye on what’s in store.