National Rum Day has finally arrived! In order to make sure we take advantage of everyone’s favorite tiki-fueled holiday, we asked our friends at BACARDÍ for a little guidance. Luckily, they sent A-K Hada, North American Ambassador of Rums for BACARDÍ, our way, and she guided us through how she’ll be enjoying this year’s celebration.
From New York City’s best event to what to pair with BACARDÍ Gran Reserva Diez (hint: it’s a type of pie), Hada guided us through her favorite ways to enjoy rum and what to do to make this National Rum Day one to remember.
Spirited Zine: Just to start, can you tell us about your first experience with rum, and how that interaction impacted the way you view BACARDÍ?
A-K Hada: My first experiences with rum were mostly situational, like sipping Piña Coladas at the beach and enjoying Daiquiris by the pool. Therefore, with BACARDÍ Superior being the benchmark white rum, I mostly associated it with tropical cocktails at that time.
SZ: Now that you’re a bit more experienced. Is there anything you would tell that younger version of yourself to do differently when it comes to enjoying that first rum drink?
AKH: I can say that what I’ve learned since becoming a bartender is just how versatile rum is. There are so many different opportunities and ways in which rum can be enjoyed outside just the tropical drinks category. My favorite probably being a beautiful aged rum – like BACARDÍ Reserva Ocho or BACARDÍ Gran Reserva Diez – neat or on the rocks.
SZ: People these days approach rum from so many different directions, whether it’s tiki drinks or sipped straight. In your eyes, what makes BACARDÍ stand out from other rum distilleries?
AKH: Referring back to the versatility, every product in the BACARDÍ rum portfolio is made with great integrity and all have unique areas in which they shine. Using various combinations of Don Facundo’s pioneering techniques that BACARDÍ Superior is made of, the brand continues to operate innovatively with integrity.
SZ: August 16 is National Rum Day. We know people have been getting carried away with these types of holidays over the last several years, but if we’re going to celebrate something, it might as well be rum. How will you be celebrating National Rum Day?
AKH: I will be celebrating in NYC at the restaurant Dante, where they are hosting one of Puerto Rico’s best bars, La Factoria, for a three day pop up. I’ll also be celebrating alongside my fellow teammates who represent the Real HAVANA CLUB Rum and Santa Teresa 1796. It is a celebration of all rums in the Bacardi portfolio!
SZ: What will National Rum Day look like around the BACARDÍ distillery?
AKH: I hope joyful! They are incredible craftspeople who work year-round to produce such amazing products. I will be toasting to them from afar.
SZ: Can you guide us through what you find to be the perfect food pairings for BACARDÍ’s Añejo Cuatro, Reserva Ocho, Gran Reserva Diez, and Gran Reserva Limitada?
AKH: I’m going to be a little bit of a rebel and say there’s no such thing! I’m a big supporter of people eating and drinking whatever makes them happiest. I wouldn’t say no, however, to BACARDÍ Gran Reserva Diez neat and a slice of cherry pie.
SZ: What’s your favorite way to enjoy rum? Out with friends, after a meal, a campfire on the beach?
AKH: My favorite way to enjoy rum is with great company – wonderful friends make any drink taste better.
SZ: When it comes to your favorite way to enjoy rum, do you like neat, on the rocks, or in a cocktail?
AKH: It depends on the rum! Though what I drink most frequently would be a BACARDÍ Superior or BACARDÍ Cuatro with soda – otherwise known as a Mismo – or an aged rum neat.
SZ: Do you have any cocktails you would recommend mixing up for National Rum Day?
AKH: One of my favorite rum cocktails is an Old Cuban, created by Audrey Saunders of Pegu Club. It’s perfect with BACARDÍ Reserva Ocho and is essentially a Mojito with Prosecco and a few dashes of bitters. Doesn’t get more celebratory than that!
If you’re looking for a bit more guidance on cocktails and bottles, check out our article on What To Drink On National Rum Day.