The first bottle of Bacardi, one of the most popular rum brands in the world, was produced in Cuba in 1862 by Don Facundo Bacardí Massó, a Spanish wine merchant who had moved to Cuba and sought to refine the island's most popular spirit. The first Bacardi distillery in Santiago de Cuba had fruit bats living in the rafters – the inspiration behind the logo. Since then, the company has remained family-owned for seven generations.La Floridita - Famous Hemingway hangout and birthplace of the daiquiri — Photo courtesy of ecov ottos
When Bacardi was founded, rum was popular but cheaply made throughout Cuba, giving it a harsh flavor. Once Bacardi bottled the first clear rum, its popularity began to spread. In 1898, an American engineer living in Daiquirí, Cuba mixed the first daiquiri, and two years later, Coca-Cola and rum were combined to make the first Cuba Libre in celebration of the end of the Spanish American War.Old Bacardi building in Havana — Photo courtesy of Guillaume Baviere
During the period of Prohibition in the United States, Havana became a popular tourist destination, and by 1930, celebrities and wealthy businessmen could often be spotting enjoying a Bacardi cocktail at the Bacardi building's Art Deco bar in Old Havana. While rum is the company's most famous offering, the son-in-law of Bacardi's founder began brewing beer in 1926, sold under the label Hatuey.Bacardi mojitos being mixed in Havana — Photo courtesy of advencap
While rum production has since ceased in Cuba, Bacardi still operates the world's largest rum distillery in Cataño, Puerto Rico. Visitors to Puerto Rico can tour this "Cathedral of Rum," where you'll see a reproduction of the original facility and galleries full of Bacardi family memorabilia. Finish off the free tour with a free cocktail.