The Rum Shakers bartender dance program presented by Tales of the Cocktail and sponsored by BACARDÍ captured the hearts, and hips, of so many in the U.S. bartender community. The energy, positivity, equitable opportunity and FUN of Rums Shakers has kept it near and dear to the thirsty crew’s hearts and it might be our favorite advocacy program of all time. After magically transformative and epically entertaining seasons in Miami and Los Angeles, Rum Shakers shook up New York City enlisting 20 bartender dancers to the program at the fiercely competitive auditions. After three months of rigorous training with countless dance rehearsals, the NYC Rum Shakers were just two weeks shy from taking their routines to the big stage for their Grand Finale performance, when the music stopped as the world as we knew it changed forever in March 2020.
Nearly two years after the NYC Rum Shakers were forced to be apart, something spectacular happened and they were reunited in Puerto Rico, the home of BACARDÍ Rums, with Tales of the Cocktail, La Gran Familia of Bacardi and of course, thirsty, to finally dance together once again. Landing in San Juan, Puerto Rico, the Rum Shakers were treated like the superstars that they are at the historic La Concha Resort where they were greeted by poolside BACARDÍ Rum cocktails with BACARDÍ North American Rum Ambassador AK Hada, BACARDÍ Rum Aficianados Fanny Chu and Ken Navarro and special guest, Nicole Fas, the Puerto Rican modern bar icon who was BACARDÍ Legacy Global Finalist in 2019.
The Isla del Encanto of Puerto Rico always lives up to its name and the Rum Shakers, along with La Gran Familia of Bacardi, headed to the iconic and universally beloved bar, La Factoría. Ascending the stairs to the private upstairs level, Rum Shakers were greeted by the rhythms of barriles drums and a very special live musical performance of Bomba y Plena. The Rum Shakers took the el batey (the dance floor) feeling the freedom and uninhibited joy of being together again and united in dance. Of course, there were BACARDÍ Rum cocktails festively shaken & stirred up by the exception bar team of La Factoría, who were just announced Tales of the Cocktail Spirited Awards nominees for Best Bar Team in Latin American / Caribbean. As the Rum Shakers rejoiced in dance, they were joined by team members of Bacardi from a cross the U.S. for this very special reunion. To keep the experience as authentically Puerto Rican as possible, the celebrated sustainable culinary team from BACAO catered a specially BACARDÍ inspired menu of all locally sourced foods, many grown on their farm. It was a fully authentic and enchanting Boricua experience. The entire group danced the night away celebrating life, the journey and finally being reunited.
The next day, the Rum Shakers were treated to a very special historical tour around Old San Juan. Of course, because Puerto Rico is the home of the Piña Colada and the Rum Shakers are bartenders, they also got to taste both the Piña Colada at Barrachina and Caribe Hilton with BACARDÍ Rums. Then the group headed to Casa BACARDÍ for a private tour and rum tasting to see where the rums are made, shout out to phenomenal team at Casa BACARDÍ. They all even got to get behind the bar to rum shake one last time together. Finally, the group had one last celebratory dinner at famous Puerto Rican Chef Mario Pagan’s namesake restaurant.
Rum Shakers is such a magnificent program that BACARDÍ and Tales of the Cocktail offer to the community. And while we eagerly await for details on the future of the program (spoiler alert stay tuned), we will forever hold the passion, fortitude, resilience and genuine love of the NYC Rum Shakers with us for a lifetime.
WORDS FROM PEOPLE BEHIND THE EXPERIENCE
Yolanda Baez (Rum Shaker)
Being reunited with my Rum Shakers in my home of Puerto Rico was amazing! Finally getting to dance together again felt so emotional and powerful. It was an explosion of energy, culture, passion and love. I will remember this experience with my Rum Shakers family forever.
Lauren Heteji (Rum Shaker)
I feel so blessed to be part of the Rum Shakers NYC crew. We all worked so long and hard, so it was heartbreaking when our big performance was cancelled back in March 2020. But coming together two years later, in the magical island of Puerto Rico with BACARDI and Tales of the Cocktail reignited that fire inside of all of us and brought us closer than ever before because of our emotional journey. Rum Shakers is an experience I will forever be grateful for.
Adrian Biggs (Bacardi, Director of Advocacy)
In 2019 our amazing NYC Rum Shakers embarked on their journey to dance their socks off and share their passion for movement to an adoring crowd of fans & industry. The world took a tail spin and, very sadly, the NYC Rum Shakers took the brunt of that. Fast-forward to 2022 and some resemblance of normality. We had the opportunity to take the NYC Rum Shakers to Puerto Rico, so we did! We felt it important for them to complete the Puerto Rico experience as part of their Rum Shakers journey, to see where BACARDÍ Rums are produced, meeting the people behind our rums and feel the culture of Puerto Rico. Cheers to our NYC Rums Shakers!
Taylor Barron (Associate Director of Partnerships, Tales of the Cocktail Foundation)
Springtime in Puerto Rico is colorful, bright, and vivacious, and the New York Rum Shakers kicked this energy up a notch during their reunion in San Juan. Tales of the Cocktail Foundation’s Rum Shakers sponsored by Bacardi is meant to get bartenders active through dance, but witnessing the community and friendship fostered is what makes the program so inspiring to me. Despite two years of lock-downs, bar closures, and relocations, the Rum Shakers familia was as strong as ever, and I couldn’t have imagined a better revival for the Rum Shakers program.
Carlos Irizarry (General Manager, La Factoría)
- Katelyn Munn – @kmunney
- Lauren Heteji – @lauren_heteji
- Brenda Riepenttoff – @briepenh
- Ash Haussermann – @drinkduchess
- Alisha Neverson – @elpuffington
- Casimro ‘Caz’ Cabral @soulbrotherno.2
- Janelli Balinsit – @Missjblunts
- Lianna Walker @liannalavender
- Becca Pesce – @Misswhiskeyprincess
- Yolanda Baez – @yolabaez
- Taylor Adorno Rae – @vayachica
- Ken Lin – @its_kenjamin
- Rebecca Silverman – @Rebeccaleighsil
- Hernan Trujillo – @Tru_Sumbol
- Holly Long – @hollywudla17
- Valerie Zollina – @meanyzucchini
- Josh Cameron – @joshcameronmusic
- Ariel Suarez – @a_suarez16
- Camilla Fernandez – @camilafernandez_7
- Irene Kontonicolaou – @irene_amazed
STAY TUNED – Tales of the Cocktail Rums Shakers, sponsored by Bacardi is coming back in August! Look out San Diego, Washington DC, Chicago and Atlanta Bartenders for more info coming your way soon!
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