Begin your Rum Journey
In Puerto Rico rum distillation began about 450 years ago with the arrival of sugar cane and was only briefly interrupted by Prohibition when the distilleries that didn’t close started making rub-bing alcohol to survive. Just after World War II the Puerto Rico Industrial Development Company did what nobody else in the world had done up to then, it created a rum standard to guarantee the quality of Puerto Rican rum. From the studies performed they created the Rums of Puerto Rico quality standard based on ingredients, distillation method, and aging minimums. Many other countries adopted these learnings to better their national product. This quality standard has worked and now Puerto Rico produces almost 70% of the rum consumed in the United States. Bacardí and Destilería Serrallés are the two major producers.A recent crop of small artisan rum brands such asArtesano and Ron Pepón have appeared and the cocktail revival has represented a new life for this traditional spirit. There are also historic producers such as Ron del Barrilito, one of the oldest and most respected brands on the Island.
Rums of Puerto Rico recently began a new program called the Rum Journey, a five day rum adventure to the 8 most important distilleries and rum destinations on the Island. You can check it out at puertoricorumjourney.com. Here you cover all bases, from the world’s largest rum distillery to the Island’s smallest. But don’t confuse size with quality, some of the smaller producers are true craftsmen and have won international recognitions. Their aged and flavored rums are a far cry from your garden variety “spiced rum”.Remember, all Rum Journeys begin with jus tone small sip in the right direction.
Here are all the Distilleries included in the Puerto Rico Rum Journey and some details about each. Puertoricorumjourney.com can help with tour reservations or you can go directly to each brands’ website.
Bacardí – Cataño
Visit the largest premium distillery in the world.Since 1958 it’s been the home of Bacardí, the largest selling rum. They have hosted more than3 million visitors so the tour is a well structured event. You have three options to choose from(they all include an historical tour);Mixology-learn to properly mix the two most popular rum drinks: Piña Colada and Mojito; Rum Tasting- be-come a rum connoisseur while you taste variousBacardi premium rums;Legacy- learn all about the Bacardí family and their quest to make the most awarded rum in the world. It’s the closest distillery to the metropolitan area, just a 20 min-ute drive away.
Book your tour at bacardi.com
La Casita del Ron – Old San Juan
If you can’t make it to any of the tours, this charming restaurant (an official Rums of Puerto Rico partner) right on the water in Old San Juan Bay can give you a taste of what you will be missing. They offer rum flights where you can sample 4 different rums and their cocktail list is quite impressive. They also have merchandise for sale and just about all the brands made on the Island. Take a seat and enjoy the views at the end of your Old San Juan walk around.
San Juan Artisan Distillers
Established in 2011, San Juan Artisan Distillers is the first and only Sugarcane Estate Distillery inPuerto Rico. Unique in its kind, they grow, har-vest, ferment, and distill Sugarcane juice from heirloom varietals in their French Cognac Potstills to produce RON PEPÓN an award-winning “RonAgrícola” made 100% from Sugarcane juice.Recipients of Gold Medals Internationally, they also produce TRESCLAVOS Ron Caña, inspired by Puerto Rican tradition. This Ron Caña is of exceptional quality and infused with locally farmed tropical fruits. San Juan Artisan Distillers is truly a farm to bottle distillery.
Book a tour and enjoy a tasting experience at sanjuanartisandistillers.com
Ron del Barrilito – Bayamón
The oldest rum in Puerto Rico is praised for its deep and intricate whiskey-like profile. Instead of aging in bourbon barrels like other rums, used Spanish sherry barrels are employed and a unique pre aging process with macerated fruit and spices creates a very flavorful rum. The name means “little barrel” and it comes from the founder’s tradition of visiting friends with his latest spirit. They offer a mixology class and a rum tasting class where you can sample their four rums including their spectacular 5 star version (aged up to 35 years). You can even bottle your own 4 star rum at their store.Just 20 minutes away from San Juan.Book your Mixology, Tasting or Heritage Tour at rondelbarrilito.com
Destilería Serrallés, Don Q – Ponce
This is Puerto Rico’s second largest and oldest distillery and they offer a full line of light, dark, aged and flavored rums. It’s based in Ponce and definitely one of the local favorites. They offer a hands-on mixology and virtual history tour in theCastillo Serrallés a 1930’s Spanish Revivalist Man-sion perched atop a hillside overlooking Ponce.Take a walk around the castle and admire the meticulously maintained grounds.Book your tour at rondonq.com
La Destilería Craft Spirits – Jayuya
This distillery up in the mountains of Jayuya is the only Certified Craft Distillery on the Island. All aging, infusing and blending are done by hand to guarantee a superior, unique taste. These super premium rums are definitely unique and a must try for any rum aficionado. Try the Bohique Spiced Rum or the Artesano Super premium and you will become a rum believer. Combine this with a visit to a coffee farm for a great day in the mountains.Book your tour at destileria.co.
Destilería Coquí – Mayagüez
This West coast distillery produces Pitorro based on traditional Puerto Rican moonshine recipes.This fruit-infused spirit is great to use as a mixer forPiña Coladas and more. It’s the largest Artisan distillery on the island, 100% family-owned.Book your tour by calling 787-805-1000
Crab Island – Vieques
Crab Island Rum is the first handcrafted rum distillery on the island of Vieques, Puerto Rico. You can get to Vieques and visit Crab Island Rum Distillery on a 10-min flight from Isla Grande Airport in SanJuan. You can also take the ferry or a flight out ofCeiba. The distillery provides tours and tastings from Wednesday to Saturday.Book a tour through puertoricorumjourney.com