RUNNING ALONG HAVANA’S Malecon, I passed smooching couples who openly shared swigs from bottles while teenage boys goaded each other into taking kamikaze dives into the surf from the rocks below the sea wall. Groups of grown men bobbed in the waves, passing communal bottles around. When I smiled and nodded, the bottle was raised in my direction and a bald head hollered in Spanish. I figured it was something along the lines of, “Enough running, more rumming!”
He was right. I sprinted back to the hotel for a shower and a highball.
In 1862, Spanish immigrant Don Facundo Bacardi established what would become the world’s largest rum dynasty. Tinkering with sugarcane and molasses in Santiago de Cuba, he distilled the first clear rum and named it after himself. His recipe has remained unchanged for 150 years, surviving dictatorship, hurricanes, and the varying tastes of generations of drinkers.