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Old 06-12-2008, 10:26 PM   #1
Zurdo
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Default Ron del Barrilito collectible

hi Rum Lovers! I just registered here and I have a nice story for you all, so enjoy! Salud!

First things first:

Barrilito means "little barrel" in Español.
"Ron del Barrilito" means "Rum from the Little Barrel".

Back in the early 1960's, I was growing up in Mayaguez, in Puerto Rico, (third largest city and west coast of the island), and being a small town, my father knew the owner of the local "liquor store", which was not a liquor store but a neighborhood general store where one could buy anything from dry-salted cod fish from Spain, to a box of women's Kotex pads from the US.

Being the messenger boy in my house, my father would send me there to get him a "caneca", (a small, 1-liter bottle) of Ron del Barrilito, which as I remember were not on display for some unknown reason, so the store owner always went to the back and it took him a while to come back with the little bottle. There must have been some high-level security involved in dispatching Ron del Barrilito, now that I think back.

But at the store counter, there was a real "little barrel" display of Ron del Barrilito which I loved to look at.

One day this old man came in the store as I waited spaced-out in front of the "little barrel" sitting on the counter, he grabbed a 1-shot glass which was always next to the little barrel, opened the spigot of the barrilito, and dispensed himself a full shot from the little barrel, and swallowed it like water, as I curiously watched him and he said "have a nice day young man".

Well I had no idea there was anything in it, but now I knew that barrilito wasn't just a toy, it actually "worked".

So I made my plans.

Next time I was sent over, the store was empty, the store owner went to the back and since I knew it would be at least a 5 minute wait, I grabbed the glass shot and dispensed myself half a shot in a hurry from the little barrel, drinking it in one quick shot as I had seen the old man do.

I had never had rum before, (my parents would not let me as I was only 12), and that thing exploded in my throat and I started coughing and burning as if I had eaten a Mexican red jalapeño.

As the owner came back he asked: "are you alright son?" as I showed him my wad of chewing gum and he said "ohh, you choked on the chewing gum didn't ya boy?", as I nodded my head and grabbed the little bottle in the brown bag and walked away trying to catch my breath.

Time passed and one day my father asked me what I wanted for my birthday, and I told him, the "little barrilito" at the liquor store. "I'll talk to the owner and see", he said.

Well, here it is, that famous store display that almost killed me. I did get it around 1966 as a birthday present from my dear father, may he r.i.p. Recently I unearthed it, I had forgotten about it, the original cork plug desintegrated, so I replaced it with whatever cork I could find. Hope you enjoy the pictures.

Zurdo
Attached Images
File Type: jpg Barrilito-1.jpg (90.8 KB, 48 views)
File Type: jpg Barrilito-2.jpg (87.8 KB, 42 views)
File Type: jpg Barrilito-3.jpg (84.9 KB, 49 views)

Last edited by Zurdo; 06-13-2008 at 09:27 AM.
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Old 06-12-2008, 11:18 PM   #2
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Welcome to the forums and thanks for sharing your memories from Puerto Rico. There is nothing like that first glass of alcohol when you aren't ready for it.
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Old 06-13-2008, 08:09 AM   #3
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Welcome to the MOR. Great story!
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Old 06-13-2008, 09:20 AM   #4
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thank you Ed & Hank.

My favorite rum is Don Q Crystal. Otherwise I prefer the Felipe II Brandy aka "Jerйz" for sipping in cold winter months. (imported from Spain).

Trivia:
Bacardi rum is made by a Cuban family, the Serrallйs family, who settled in Puerto Rico after the Cuban revolution in 1959.


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Old 06-13-2008, 10:36 AM   #5
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Hi Zurdo, great story. I have one of those little barrels and will think of your story everytime I take a shot from it. They appear on eBay every now and then. Unfortunately my two bottles of Ron Barrelito got destroyed when my rum shelves collapsed, but I remember it being a great rum. I also try it whenever I'm flying thru San Juan Airport.
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Old 06-13-2008, 01:17 PM   #6
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Great pics and memories Zurdo! I must find one of those barrels!
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Old 06-13-2008, 02:28 PM   #7
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Welcome to the MOR, Zurdo! Thanks for the great story and pics!
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Old 06-13-2008, 11:33 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zurdo View Post

Trivia:
Bacardi rum is made by a Cuban family, the Serrallйs family, who settled in Puerto Rico after the Cuban revolution in 1959.


Zurdo
I thought the Serrallйs family settled near Ponce and established the eponymous distillery on the south coast that now makes Don Q.
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Old 06-14-2008, 12:45 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Zurdo View Post
thank you Ed & Hank.

My favorite rum is Don Q Crystal. Otherwise I prefer the Felipe II Brandy aka "Jeréz" for sipping in cold winter months. (imported from Spain).

Trivia:
Bacardi rum is made by a Cuban family, the Serrallés family, who settled in Puerto Rico after the Cuban revolution in 1959.


Zurdo
Welcome Zurdo! Great story and great barrel! But, I thought that the Serrallés family settled in PR directly from Spain? The story goes that Don Facund Bacardí i Massó founded Bacardi in Santiago de Cuba in a place which had a bunch of bats in the rafters. Something like that... Then, In the 30's, pre-Castro, expansion brought a Ron Bacardi distillery to PR. Anyway, that's the version they tell at the Bacardi distillery tour.
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Old 06-14-2008, 06:31 PM   #10
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hi guys,

the Serrallйs story is a mix of all you say, and then some.
Sure, the public relations' stories are one thing, the local folklore is another.

yes, they built a mansion in Ponce around 1957 which is now a tourist curiosity called The "Serrallйs Castle", built to look like a castle but in reality it is a large house.

A real castle had been built in Mayaguez by the Valdйz family, founders of "Cerveceria India", (India Beer Brewery whose heirs still run it producing "India" and "Medalla" beers as well as locally famous soft drinks like "Kola Champagne", "Old Colony Grape", etc.).

Mayaguez is known as "The City Of Pure Waters", and I imagine that's the reason the Valdйz family picked Mayaguez for their brewery.

The "Castillo Valdйz" (Valdйz Castle) was purchased and then demolished by the Hilton Hotels chain in order to build, (you guessed it), a modern Hilton Hotel called the "Mayaguez Hilton" which is now called "Mayaguez Resort & Casino". Again, I imagine the piece of land where the castle was located, was the reason they bought it.

And that brings me to another story about antiques:

About a month before the Valdйz Castle was demolished, a bunch of local businessmen and friends met there to say goodbye to the castle, invited by the Valdйz family with the promise of free cold beer! My father was there too since he knew Valdйz the senior.

Some people took the giant doors, some people took the stained glass windows, some took hinges and other hardware, all of which were brought from Spain and Italy. My father grabbed a ring of keys that was hanging by a nail and brought it home. I mounted the keys on a board and here's a picture. I imagine they are from the 1800's.

Enjoy.

Zurdo
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