Mixin’ It Up On A BACARDÍ Distillery Tour In San Juan, Puerto Rico

March 3, 2024
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Why You Should Take a Bacardi Distillery Mixology Tour in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Bienvenidos from Casa BACARDÍ, the world’s largest rum distillery!  On my recent (unintentionally) brief trip to San Juan, Puerto Rico, my cousin and I decided to head across the bay in San Juan to Cataño to check out the famous Bacardi factory for ourselves, along with a mixology tour.

Learning to make rum cocktails at Casa Bacardi, the world's biggest rum distillery - what to do in San Juan

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You have a few different options to choose from when visiting the Bacardi distillery.  All the tours include a welcome cocktail from the outdoor pavilion bar, and it seems like all include the trolley ride tour (my guess is that the length and depth of the tour varies though).

The least expensive is the Legacy Tour, which is a 45-minute tour covering the history of Bacardi and their rum production process, with a single tasting at the end.  You can also take a rum tasting tour that includes a short tour and then a tasting of multiple rums with chocolate pairings.

I’ve done a lot of distillery tours and at a certain point there’s not a lot new that’s super interesting to hear and see (especially at such an industrial-size one).  So we chose to do the mixology class, versus the other regular tour-and-tasting options.  I made the booking that morning and there was still some availability, but I’d definitely recommend booking a bit ahead if there’s a particular day and time you want (you can look at the brand’s website to book directly as well).

my cousin & I enjoying the rum cocktails we made at our mixology class at Bacardi Distillery

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There are a couple different ways to get to the distillery (Bacardi’s website has more details).

  • You can take a ferry from Old San Juan to Cataño, then either get a taxi/Uber for the short ride to the distillery (or book the one-way shuttle on Bacardi’s website).  The ferry leaves from Pier 2 (between cruise ship docks) ever 15-30 minutes and tickets are only 50 cents.  The ride takes 10 minutes.  This is a good option for cruise ship day-trippers in particular.
  • The other main option is to take an Uber or taxi from San Juan, which takes 25-30 minutes depending on where you are (our Uber was $15 one way and $22 the other way).

Ours was a last-minute decision, and we were trying to cram a lot in since I had to leave PR two days early (due to diabetic cat shenanigans back home)…so we made it to the distillery with minutes to spare before our tour.

Where to stay in San Juan:  We stayed two nights at the Condado Ocean Club (great pool and beach!), and two nights in an apartment.

Welcome Center at Bacardi Distillery - what to expect on a distillery tour & mixology class in San Juan

tokens for our free welcome drink at Bacardi Distillery

Getting our welcome drinks at Bacardi Distillery in San Juan

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I’d recommend getting there early to enjoy the vibe…after checking in at the reception desk, you can play a game of cornhole, sip your welcome drink, and snap some pics in front of the mural wall.  There are 3-4 welcome cocktails you can choose from, or you can pay $4 to upgrade to a more custom drink.

(As a side note, I’m in love with my built-in bra dress from SOMA, and never go on any warm-weather trip without my beloved ultra-comfy walking sandals.)

Why You Should Take a Bacardi Distillery Mixology Tour in San Juan, Puerto Rico | If you're spending a few days in San Juan, a Bacardi tour is one of the things you should consider...you can do regular tour, tasting, or a mixology class.

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Then our tour’s time was called and we gathered to board the trolley.  It was a fairly big group, but they move everyone along smoothly.

Kam was our tour guide, and she gave us a brief history of Bacardi’s history, their distilling process, and a bit about their ingredient sourcing and sustainability as our little train scooted along.  It feels pretty industrial, so I definitely felt it was the right call to focus more on the mixology class.

One thing I did find funny is that they call the rum that evaporates while aging in the barrels the “devil’s cut” (rather than the “angel’s share”, which is what it’s called in whiskey).  And they call the main white building the “Catedral (cathedral) of Rum”.

I took my welcome drink with me on the trolley tour at Bacardi Distillery

They call this building at Bacardi Distillery "the cathedral of rum"

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We all took up spaces in the classroom and got oriented to the various bar tools and ingredients we were given.  They have a ton of retro Bacardi ads lining hte walls, which are fun to peruse.

Taking a mixology class at Bacardi Distillery in San Juan, Puerto Rico

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Taking a mixology class at Bacardi Distillery in San Juan, Puerto Rico

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Our group was…lol UNRULY.  Kam had her hands full trying to get people to calm down and listen, the group had quite a party atmosphere.

We started with some sips of a higher-end rum (I can’t remember which, whether it was the Anejo Cuatro or something they only offer at the distillery).

Taking a mixology class at Bacardi Distillery in San Juan, Puerto Rico

Taking a mixology class at Bacardi Distillery in San Juan, Puerto Rico

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Then we mixed up our first cocktail, called La Canchancha.  It’s made with honey syrup, lime juice, and rum, shaken with ice…basically a rum gimlet.  Very simple, but you have to go fairly simple with a group this size.

What to expect at a mixology class at Bacardi Distillery in San Juan, Puerto Rico

What to expect at a mixology class at Bacardi Distillery in San Juan, Puerto Rico

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This was simple and delicious!  You know I love me some cocktail mixing, so check out my full range of cocktail recipes if you’d like to try yourself!  (And I recently published my first rum-based recipe, a delicious cinnamon banana dacquiri.)

What to expect at a mixology class at Bacardi Distillery in San Juan, Puerto Rico

What to expect at a mixology class at Bacardi Distillery in San Juan, Puerto Rico

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Next we went with a stirred cocktail, I think she called it the Cuatro Smash.  It’s very similar to a couple drinks I’ve made in the past, with fresh grapefruit juice, St. Germain (elderflower liqueur, lots of rum, and then ice is added, it’s stirred, and topped with a bit of club soda.  Basically a Bohemian cocktail with rum instead of gin.

What to expect at a mixology class at Bacardi Distillery in San Juan, Puerto Rico

What to expect at a mixology tour at Bacardi Distillery in San Juan, Puerto Rico

What to expect at a mixology tour at Bacardi Distillery in San Juan, Puerto Rico

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The second cocktail was good, but I would have altered the proportions a tiny bit (it was a little sickly sweet, needed more tartness from the grapefruit juice).  Personally I’d shake it as well, it gets colder that way (obviously don’t add the club soda til it’s in the glass).  I loved the first one, and definitely plan to make it again!

What to expect at a mixology tour at Bacardi Distillery in San Juan, Puerto Rico

What to expect at a mixology tour at Bacardi Distillery in San Juan, Puerto Rico

What to expect at a mixology tour at Bacardi Distillery in San Juan, Puerto Rico

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We sipped our cocktails, then meandered through the gift shop and boarded the trolley back to the welcome center.  I would have enjoyed staying for a bit, but needed to get to the airport fairly shortly after that and didn’t want to risk Friday rush hour traffic getting worse.

If you only have a day here, I would focus on exploring the historic old town.  But if you have 2 to 3 days to explore, you definitely should consider the Bacardi distillery tour in San Juan…and my vote would be for the mixology class!

Other adult beverage experiences you’ll love:

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Why You Should Take a Bacardi Distillery Mixology Tour in San Juan, Puerto Rico | If you're spending a few days in San Juan, a Bacardi tour is one of the things you should consider...you can do regular tour, tasting, or a mixology class. We chose the mixology tour, a fun hand-on experience!

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