Don Q’s legacy is a living force that drives his eternal pursuit of perfection in the art of rum-making. It is the wisdom that has been cultivated by six generations of the Serrallés family over 150 years of dedication to the craft.
Their commitment to the people and the methods that define Don Q has made them the favorite rum in the land of rum; Puerto Rico. Sergio Reyes is Don Q Brand, Ambassador. Let’s learn more about him in this interview.
TRL: Who is Sergio Reyes?
Started in the industry as a waiter and then moved to the bar as a bartender, where I found a new passion. Learned more about spirits and how they are made. That took me to try my abilities in cocktail competitions, where I competed in all the competitions I could enter Puerto Rico. Other than local platforms, I also took part in known worldwide platforms such as World Class PR, Chivas Masters PR, and Absolut Invite PR, in which I got 1st place in PR and took my skills to the world finals in Sweden.
Other than competing in different cocktail competitions, I also like to keep learning and continue my education as a bartender and spirits enthusiast. A few of the certifications I have are BARSMARTS, WSET Level 2 in Spirits, and Edinburgh Whisky Academy, among others. In 2017 I could start working as a Brand Ambassador for other spirits and since then I’ve been educating myself by taking different boot camps and seminars on getting better at the different aspects that involve being a Brand Ambassador the key for me is to keep on learning new things to add on my journey as Don Q Brand Ambassador to help get my brand more awareness.
TRL: What does the rum mean to you? What made you fall in love with rum and when did it happen?
Rum, for me, is part of my culture. As a Puerto Rican, for me, it is very important to represent why we are known as the Rum Capital of the world and to take our high-quality rums around the world. When I started getting more knowledge about spirits and understanding what they are, that’s when I fell in love with rum. Because it lets me know we make and is known for one of the more complex and flavorful spirits there are.TRL: Three essential characteristics that define the rum according to your perspective.
- Complexity, as sugarcane can be used in different ways to make rum
- Cultural, because every country that makes rum, is based on the flavors of the culture of that country.
- Versatile, as you can enjoy it by itself or in cocktails and still maintain the flavors of the rum.
TRL: What is the most important contribution you have made to the rum industry?
I’m just starting in the rum industry, but locally, we are converting more consumers to drink rum rather than whisky and for the moment, that is my goal, to spread the ‘rum gospel’ and have more people drinking rum as their first option.
TRL: Benefits that the rum industry has given you.
A whole new world in the spirits industry, since there are so many types of rum and a new way to represent my country and be proud of the rums that we make in Puerto Rico.
TRL: What’s another thing you are passionate about besides rum? Why?
I am a big sports fan, especially a very passionate about baseball. One sport that is enormous in my country and I also play in an amateur softball league. I also practice Brazilian JiuJitsu.
TRL: What is your favorite place for drinking rum?
There are some great rum and/or cocktail bars in Puerto Rico to enjoy drinking rum, but one of my favorite places to drink some good rum drinks is at the beach or pool in a very tropical setting.
TRL: Favorite drink + Recipe
For me, in a normal setting, a good aged rum (Don Q Reserva 7) with coconut water, or in a cocktail setting, a good Rum Old Fashioned never fails.
My Rum Old Fashioned:
- 2oz Don Q Gran Reserva Añejo XO- 1/2 oz Simple Syrup- 4 dashes of Chocolate Bitters- 2 dashes of Orange Bitters- Garnish Orange Peel
TRL: Why is it important to educate the rum consumer?
There are a lot of consumers that know little about rum or don’t understand what a good rum is, since rum is a spirit to be mixed with something else and don’t know that good rum can be enjoyed by itself or on the rocks.
TRL: Any tips to train the palate and taste a good premium rum?
To have an open mind and understand that not all rums are made equally or taste the same. Try different rums until you find the style of rum that you like.
TRL: Is the commitment to sustainable development the key to success for the permanence of the rum industry in the world? Why?
Yes. All spirits move that way, and rum shouldn’t be an exception. Most of the rum comes from small countries or islands, which makes it more important to protect the environment and longevity of the place where it is made.
TRL: Who would like to meet in the rum industry? What would you say to him/her?
I wouldn’t say I would like to meet just one person in particular but all the rum makers and ambassadors as possible, to learn what they are doing and what their rums taste like and definitely learn about the culture from where that rum comes from.
TRL: What are your next goals in the rum industry?
My next goal is to grow in the rum market as a Rum Ambassador, travel the world, and take our brand Don Q to the next level.
TRL: Plans you have when you leave the rum industry.
Not thinking of that yet, since I’m just starting in the rum industry.
TRL: Why is the role of the bartender important in the rum industry?
They are ambassadors of the rum industry. Bartenders are the ones responsible for not only using our rums and introducing the consumers to rums, but they are the ones that bring THE rum experience to them and can make the consumers really fall in love with rums and how they can be enjoyed.
TRL: What is your advice for new generations in the rum industry?
To not only make great rum, but make your culture part of that rum so that the consumers talk about and understand how good and important is rum for every country that makes rum.
TRL: How can people learn more about you? Website? Social media page?
Published by The Rumlab ago
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