My grandmother gave everyone in my family a different one of her recipes: pasteles, barriguitas de vieja. I was dying to get that recipe, but I didn’t. I got the Coquito. So in the family the joke is my grandma made me a bartender. I was eleven.
In the spirits industry, there are so many brands that rely on fancy decanters, talking about their eleven-times diamond-distillation. But rum doesn’t need that, because it has a real story to tell. I needed to bring that story to bars all over the country, because everyone needs to know about the complexity of rum. There’s so much history within—it carries the weight of our cultural identity. So I made it my thing to help consumers find the kinds of rum they would enjoy.
In Puerto Rico, there’s so much pride in calling ourselves the land of rum. But it isn’t something that just lives there. It’s not just Puerto Rico, not just the Caribbean—rum is for everybody. That’s my main goal, to explain that rum isn’t only mine, but yours as well.