Thursday, 8 August 2013

Sitges – The Bacardi Tour

My Faithful Followers, you are in for a big treat today. I have asked a guest blogger, my dear husband, to chip in and tell you all about his experiences in the Bacardi House in Sitges. I haven’t been on this tour so it’s all down to him to give you an account of his experiences.

So I had my colleague and friend James over from London with his friend Ryan and we decided to head down to Sitges on a Sunday in May to check out the beach and hopefully catch some sun! Edit had looked on the internet at things to do in Sitges and found that it was the home of Bacardi, we found that rather confusing as we were sure it came from Cuba. We booked some tickets for the tour, the price of 7 euros and the lure of a free mojito made it an easy decision!

The mystery was quickly cleared up when we got the Bacardi house and the tour began. It turns out that the guy who invented Bacadi rum was born in Sitges. He travelled over to Cuba where he created the drink, Bacardi is the family name that has stuck throughout the history of the company and now they own all kinds of other drinks brands like Grey Goose vodka.

So we got a bit of history about Mr. Bacardi (I’ve forgotten his first name!). Interestingly the reason the logo is a bat is that his wife chose it because it’s a symbol of prosperity and good fortune, strange choice of animal I think! 

Then it was straight into how Bacardi rum is made. It’s made from sugar cane, they had an old press that was used a long time ago to squeeze the juice out of the sugar cane, Ryan keenly volunteered to give the press a try.

Next we got to sample some sugar that had been concentrated, this is what they use to make Rum. It tasted pretty hideous, a bit like burnt liquorice.

Then onto the booze! First we tried some single-distilled rum which tastes pretty rough, then some that had been distilled a few more times, this tasted a lot smoother (especially after the first one). Then Bacardi itself which is a mix of the two, tasted pretty good and I normally don’t particularly like Bacardi!

That finished the tour, it was pretty short but it was interesting to see how the drink was made, and also to have a taste! Then it was onto mixing drinks.

They led us to the bar they have in the Bacardi house where two rather bored looking barmen were waiting (I guess they’ve done this a few hundred times each so I’m not surprised they looked bored!). They then proceeded to show us how to make a Mojito then a Cuba Libre (which is basically rum and coke with some lime in). I’ll try and recollect how to make a Mojito, having tried many times before and failing miserably I’m glad I finally know how to do it!

You start with half a lime and chop it into two, stick the pieces in a big glass then add two heaped spoonfuls of white sugar. Then you mash the hell out of it, this lets the juice out of the lime and dissolves the sugar in the juice (this is the key step I’d been missing when trying it myself). Then you grab 6-8 mint leaves, clap your hands to release the mint flavour and put them in the glass. It’s important NOT to tear the leaves as this way you can end up with bits of mint in your mouth (again a mistake I’d made before). Then add 6 seconds of Bacardi, yes that’s right 6 SECONDS of Bacardi, not 25ml or 50ml or whatever, you do it based on time. That’s the Spanish way, they have a little plastic piece in the tops of their liquor bottles that makes the liquor come out slowly. So you just hold it up and let it pour, 6 seconds was quite a lot of alcohol! Then you add crushed ice and top up with soda water, our glasses were pretty full of alcohol and ice so didn’t need much soda, you can pull up the mint leaves a bit in the sides of the glass with a spoon and stick a little spring of mint in the top to make it look the part. And you’re done! Our efforts tasted surprisingly good, finally I made a proper mojito!

After that we got to finish our drinks we’d made outside in the sun whilst they tried to sell us some overpriced Bacardi merchandise. All in all it was worth 7 euros, you get a bit of history, some info about how Bacardi is made (with tasters) then the choice of making a Mojito or Cuba Libre which you get to drink (plus you get a sip of the ones the barmen make), so pretty good value for money.

Check it out if you’re ever in Sitges, remember to book in advance though, you can’t just show up and walk straight in. There are only a few English tours a day but we had no trouble booking the day before.

Special thanks for Paul for writing this amazing blog!

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