Food All-Stars

8. Bacardi: Spirited Family

New Times' Best of Miami 2014 issue arrives June 19. To celebrate, Short Order is paying tribute to Miami's culinary all-stars. These people forged our city's food scene into what it is today -- a thriving amalgam of tastes and cultures. Through their insight and talent, they've given the city a unique flavor and paved the way for bright new chefs and restaurateurs to follow their lead and take the Miami food scene into the future.

In 1862, Don Facundo Bacardí Massó purchased a small distillery in Santiago de Cuba with bats living in the rafters. The bat, a symbol of good health, and good fortune, became the company's symbol and the rum was prized for being smooth-bodied -- a rarity compared to the usual harsh "ron" found in Cuba.

The distillery became a favorite with American soldiers when, celebrating a victory in the Spanish-American war, asked for Coca-Cola and Bacardi, toasting to a free Cuba with the first Cuba Libre.

See also: Legacy of the Cocktails Showcase: Bacardi Prepares for Its 150th Anniversary

For decades, Bacardi grew and thrived, expanding to the United States in 1915. Even through prohibition, Americans flocked to Cuba to enjoy rum freely and legally, although the New York-based bottling company was forced to close. Then, in October 1960, revolutionary government forces confiscated all of Bacardi's assets in the country. Instead of closing, the family changed their game plan and in 1963 opened the iconic Bacardi Building on Biscayne Boulevard in Miami and the company had a rebirth. Bacardi and its president became leaders in the Cuban exile community in Miami.

Bacardi has been an integral part of Miami for about four decades and, although the company moved to Coral Gables, the Bacardi Building, the former headquarters of Bacardi USA, is a landmark. On April 18, 2012, the AIA's Florida Chapter placed it on its list of Florida Architecture: 100 Years. 100 Places as Bacardi USA.

Tasty Tidbit

Bacardi Limited is the largest privately help spirits company in the world, with a portfolio of more than 200 brands including Bacardi, Grey Goose vodka, Dewar's Scotch, and Bombay Sapphire gin.

In Their Own Words

"Bacardi has been part of Miami's food & beverage landscape for years. It is special because Bacardi USA calls Miami home. The Miami cocktail community is thriving and Bacardi is proud to be a part of it.

-- Gabe Urrutia, Bacardi portfolio manager

Miami Food All-Stars

25. Dewey LoSasso

24. Mark Soyka

23. Jason Starkman

22. Lorena Garcia

21. Barton G.

20. Mike Hampton

19. Chef Creole

18. Jeremiah Bullfrog

17. Cindy Hutson

16. Jack Homes

15. Shareef Malnik

14. Bruce Ozga

13. Robert Is Here

12. Julio Cabrera

11. The Garcia Family

10. Norman Van Aken

9. Lee Schrager

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Laine Doss is the food and spirits editor for Miami New Times. She has been featured on Cooking Channel's Eat Street and Food Network's Great Food Truck Race. She won an Alternative Weekly award for her feature about what it's like to wait tables.
Contact: Laine Doss