Raising the Bar: A Review of the Casa Bacardi Mixology Class

As a lover of cocktails, I have always been fascinated by the art of mixology. So, when I heard about the Casa Bacardi Mixology Class, I knew I had to try it out. Casa Bacardi is located in Puerto Rico, the home of Bacardi, one of the world’s most famous rum brands. My experience at the Casa Bacardi was not only a history lesson of the Bacardi brand but a hands-on class learning to create two classic cocktails; the Mojito and a Piña Colada. But don’t worry if you can’t attend the mixology class yourself; I’ll also share the tips and tricks I learned for crafting the perfect cocktail.

History of Bacardi

Before we dive into the mixology class, let’s take a moment to talk about the history of Bacardi and its Puerto Rico House. Bacardi was founded in 1862 by Don Facundo Bacardi Masso in Santiago de Cuba. The company moved to Puerto Rico in the 1930s due to political unrest in Cuba. Today, the Bacardi Puerto Rico House is the largest premium rum distillery in the world, producing over 80% of the company’s rum.

The Puerto Rico House is located in the town of Catano, just a short drive from San Juan. The distillery is open for tours and tastings, but the Casa Bacardi Mixology Class is a unique experience that allows you to learn the art of mixology from the experts.

Outside of the Casa Bacardi in Puerto Rico.

Arriving at the Casa Bacardi

When I arrived at Casa Bacardi, I was greeted by a friendly staff member who checked my reservation and attached a wristband corresponding to my time slot. All arriving guests queued under the open-air pavilion overlooking the glimmering water in San Juan Bay. As part of the ticket, guests are treated to a complimentary cocktail while waiting for the tour to begin. Seeing how the mixology class was going to include a Mojito and a Piña Colada, I decided to spend the $4 to upgrade my welcome cocktail to Facundo’s Old Fashioned. Over a large square ice cube, the bartender poured Bacardi Ocho, light pineapple juice, and bitters. I found a seat near the corn-hole boards to watch other guests play as I enjoyed my drink. 

Right on time, my group was called to board the tram that would carry us around the Bacardi campus. Our very handsome guide gave the group a brief history of the company and the rum-making process. We were also treated to a tasting of the Casa Bacardi Special Reserve rum, which is only sold at the Casa Bacardi in Puerto Rico. This exclusive blend is a smooth combination of 8 to 12 years of aging. As we sipped from the tiny bulbous glasses, our guide described the tasting notes of caramel, honey, maple, caramelized walnuts, butterscotch, and sweet fresh fruits. As each flavor was announced, I could taste each one as if they were waiting to be acknowledged on my palate. 

The tram used to drive visitors from stop to stop at the Casa Bacardi.

Overview of the Mixology Class

We then made our way to the Mixology Pavilion, where the class was held. The class was led by our tour guild and tram driver, who also happened to have years of experience in the mixology industry. We walked into the mixology room, where each station was staged with all the tools needed to create our cocktails. The room reminded me of a science lab, but instead of dissecting a frog, we were making delicious drinks. 

We started with an overview of the different types of cocktails, the essential tools, and the ingredients needed to make them. As a class, we walked through the step-by-step process of making two signature Bacardi cocktails.

The first drink the mixologist taught us to make was a classic Mojito. He showed us how to muddle the mint leaves and lime wedges to create the perfect balance of flavors. I soon understood why bartenders dislike muddling for drink preparation. It takes a lot of time to extract the lime juice by crushing it carefully in the bottom of the glass. After adding ice and stirring the ingredients with the twisted long-handled bar spoon, I looked back in admiration of my creation. I took a long sip and declared this was the best Mojito I’d ever tasted (mostly because I made it). 

Bar tools on a table provided by Casa Bacardi.
Classic Mojito in the Casa Bacardi mixology class.

We were given a short time to enjoy our Mojito before moving on to making a Piña Colada. We were not given a blender to create this drink, as it is typically used in most restaurants and bars. Instead, we used a cocktail shaker and a strong grip to make this drink. This tropical cocktail is made with Bacardi rum, coconut cream, and pineapple juice. All the ingredients were measured into the cocktail shaker, and with all my might, I shook it until frost began forming outside the tin shaker. I then strained the contents from the cup to reveal a perfectly frosted Piña Colada. 

Those who did not finish their drinks in the class were given plastic cups to take with them as we boarded the tram to the gift shop. Here we parted ways with our lovely guild and mixologist. Sipping on the remnants of my Piña Colada, I looked through the Bacardi merchandise as the next wave of excited guests entered the pavilion for the next tour to start. 

Signature Bacardi Cocktails at Home

After taking the mixology class, I was inspired to make these Bacardi cocktails at home. If you’re interested in trying them out, here are the precise measurements for each ingredient.

Classic Mojito: Muddle 6-8 mint leaves, 2 lime wedges, and 2 tbsp of sugar in a glass. Fill the glass with ice. Add 2 ounces of Bacardi rum and a splash of soda water. Stir until combined, top with more soda water, and garnish with a mint sprig.

Piña Colada: Combine 2 ounces of Bacardi rum, 2 ounces of pineapple juice, and 1 ounce of coconut cream in a blender. Add ice and blend until smooth. Pour into a glass and garnish with a pineapple wedge.

Piña Colada at the bar before the tour.

Crafting the Perfect Cocktail – Tips and Tricks

Achieving the ideal cocktail involves finding the right balance between sweetness and acidity in the ingredients. Throughout the class, the mixologist shared his tips and tricks for crafting the perfect cocktail. Here are a few key takeaways that I learned:

  • Use fresh ingredients: The quality of your ingredients will significantly impact the taste of your cocktail. Be sure to use fresh herbs, fruits, and juices whenever possible.
  • Measure your ingredients: To create a balanced cocktail, it’s important to measure your ingredients accurately. Use a jigger or measuring cup to ensure you use the proper proportions.
  • Shake or stir your cocktail properly: The way you mix your cocktail will impact its texture and flavor. Shaking your cocktail with ice will create a frothy texture while stirring it will create a smoother texture.
  • Experiment with different flavors: Don’t be afraid to experiment with different herbs, fruits, and spirits to create your own unique cocktail creations.

Other Bacardi experiences at Casa Bacardi and in Puerto Rico

If you’re interested in learning more about Bacardi and its history, there are plenty of other experiences to check out at Casa Bacardi in Puerto Rico. Here are a few suggestions:

The Founder’s Experience: Cost $200—time 120-minute. A private experience where you can delve deeper into the mindset of founder Don Facundo. You’ll have the opportunity to take an intimate and behind-the-scenes tour of the unique tropical aging processes used to create the world’s most famous rum. 

Rum Tasting Tour: Cost $75—time 75 minutes.  Discover the art of tasting rum and become a skilled rum connoisseur! An expert-led tour where you can savor Bacardi’s top-quality rums, expertly paired with delectable chocolates. You’ll also delve into the rich history of the world’s most-awarded rum.

Legacy Tour: Cost $30—time 45 minutes. Explore the rich history of the Bacardi family and be a part of the legacy by discovering the world’s most highly acclaimed premium rum. Savor handcrafted cocktails at the iconic Pavilion and indulge in the unforgettable tasting of the exclusive Casa Bacardi Special Reserve, unavailable anywhere else in the world.

The Casa Bacardi Mixology Class (costs $75, time 75 minutes) is a must-do experience for any cocktail lover. Not only will you learn about the history of Bacardi and its Puerto Rico House, but you’ll also get hands-on experience with the tools and ingredients needed to craft the perfect cocktail. Whether you’re a beginner or an experienced mixologist, you’re sure to have a great time at the Casa Bacardi Mixology Class. It’s a fun and educational experience that will definitely shake things up!

The information in this article was accurate when published but can change without notice. Please confirm rates and details when planning your trip by following the links in this article. If you find out-of-date or inaccurate information, I’d love to hear about it to update the article. Use the comments section below. Thanks!

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