Cocktails & Spirits

Amparo Lets You Imbibe the History of Havana Club Rum

Amparo: Rum and a show.
Amparo: Rum and a show. Photo by Daniella Mía
click to enlarge Amparo: Rum and a show. - PHOTO BY DANIELLA MÍA
Amparo: Rum and a show.
Photo by Daniella Mía
You might have seen your Instagram feed blow up with photos from Amparo, the interactive play that follows the history of the founders of Havana Club rum.

The production takes a deep dive into the glass that guests will inevitably hold while watching actors portray members of the Arechabala family, founders of the Cuban spirit that had their lives ripped apart during Fidel Castro's Cuban Revolution.

Playwright Vanessa Garcia wrote the show in a way that allows guests to experience it in almost two dozen ways. “There are five main ways to enter the story, but there are 23 different ways to experience the story," Garcia says. "Each character has a full arc. And even if you come back to a single track several times, you will have a varied experience. You will always come out knowing and seeing the central narrative, but what will shift is the point of view.”

The show follows the stories of Ramon Arechabala and his family as their island nation falls under the Castro regime. Experiencing all of that pathos and intrigue calls for a drink. Coincidentally, the story of the people behind Havana Club rum comes with plenty of liquid gold.
click to enlarge PHOTO BY DANIELLA MÍA
Photo by Daniella Mía
An hour before showtime, guests are treated to an open bar with cocktails containing the rum that was purchased by Bacardi from the Arechabala family in 1995.

Havana Club brand ambassador Giovanny Gutierrez curated a drink menu that incorporates classic flavors with modern twists. The Airmail, for instance, is made with Havana Club añejo blanco, local orange blossom honey and lime, then topped with a splash of champagne.

Cocktails are representations of Cuba’s culture and history, Gutierrez says. “Our Guayabita cocktail, for example, was invented in a beach town called Daiquiri in Santiago de Cuba by a mining engineer named Jennings Cox." Today this cocktail is associated with blenders and artificial strawberry syrups, but at Amparo, this cocktail is hand-shaken using only three ingredients: Redland guava, fresh lime, and Havana Club blanco. "It’s sweet, tangy, and has tons of flavor,” Gutierrez says.

After spending 90 minutes in the immersive show, guests are brought back to modern-day Miami through live music and more Havana Club cocktails. Those who work up an appetite can purchase fare at the Finka Table & Tap food truck. Owner Eileen Andrade's dishes include Cuban nachos, made with tostone chips, crisp vaca frita, ají amarillo mayo, cilantro aioli, maduros, chicharrón, and pico de gallo ($8); fried pork belly on a bed of kale with a sweet and spicy thai glaze ($10); and ceviche ($10).

Amparo's initial two-month run has been extended through June 30. The show, directed by Victoria Collado and produced by the Tony- and Emmy-winning Broadway Factor (American Son, Kinky Boots), is more than a play. It's an opportunity to imbibe history, love, and an unbreakable spirit, all with a cocktail in hand.

Amparo. Through June 30 at 221 NE 17th St., Miami. Tickets cost $110 via Show dates and times vary.

Corrections: An earlier version of the story misidentified the curator of the cocktail menu and misspelled the first name of Giovanny Gutierrez.
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Amber Love Bond is a Miami native whose love of food launched a unexpected writing career. You'll usually find her somewhere delicious with her laptop in tow and a cocktail in hand.
Contact: Amber Love Bond