A report by Céline Bossart for Billboard.
As you can imagine, National Rum Dayis a big deal for many a rum brand — particularly Bacardi, which Luis Fonsi will stand by as being one of the most recognizable names in the game (and so would we). So it came as no surprise that he spent the day on a tricked-out tropical Bacardi school bus, bar and all, riding around Manhattan with cocktails aplenty. In between photo opps and swarms of screaming fans, Fonsi, in all his well-deserved “Despacito” fame, sat down with Billboard Style over coconut cocktails in the back of the rum bus to chat music, what it means to be Puerto Rican, and how he takes his favorite spirit.
As a Puerto Rican, what’s your relationship to rum? And Bacardi specifically?
When you think of Puerto Rico, you think of rum, you know? Because of sugarcane and because of the history…and when you think of rum, you think of Bacardi. But I’m also a tropical guy and I’m proud to say it. I’ve always sort of worn the Puerto Rican flag on my sleeve. That’s why I was so happy to join in on this trip.
What’s your favorite rum cocktail?
I keep it simple — I’m a rum and cola kind of guy.
What about daiquiris?
I’m not too much of a daiquiri guy…if I am going to have a frozen drink though, I love piña coladas. To me, that’s one of my ultimate favorite drinks. And I’m not just saying that because it was created in Puerto Rico…[laughs].
What do you like to drink while you’re working on your music?
I love rum. It depends what kind…there are some rums that you kind of like to just sip and enjoy. But I don’t get too creative; aside from that, I just go for rum and cola.
When you’re sipping, do you go for more of a white rum or, say, the Bacardi 8 Year?
More of an 8 Year…I’m not a rum specialist, but the white rum I like to mix up more, and the 8 Year I like to sip it and enjoy it.
If you were a rum cocktail, what would you be?
That’s a tough question! I’ll tell you what I’d be: a nice, dark rum. Neat. What does that mean? It means that it’s just not complicated, it’s transparent, it’s not mixed with any crazy flavors…it is what it is and you know what you’re gonna get.
How are you celebrating National Rum Day after this epic bus ride?
Well, today has been a little bit of a crazy day for me — we started at 3:30 in the morning with Good Morning America. And I went to bed at 1:30 in the morning [laughs]…sometimes after a long day of work you just kind of want to unwind instead of going straight to bed, so I don’t know. It’s been a beautiful day. We’ve gotten a lot accomplished today; there’ve been many awards, so I have a feeling there will be a little celebrating at least. Probably not crazy Rock n Roll celebrating, but definitely a little bit of rum drinking.
Any new projects in the pipeline?
So I’m in the middle of touring, and I’m about to release my next song after “Despacito” in about a month or two. I’m really in the beginning stages; I mean, “Despacito” has been an eight-month release because the song has taken off so much, but it’s really just the beginning of my album.
Tell us a crazy rum-fueled party story.
Are there stories? Yes! Am I gonna go into detail? Wink, wink.