Though its rum is now made in Puerto Rico, the name Bacardi is inextricably associated with Cuba. The company was founded in Santiago de Cuba in 1862 by Facundo Bacardi, a rum-maker and revolutionary determined to overthrow Spanish colonialists.
Following the overthrow of his enemy Batista in 1958, Bacardi empire scion Jose "Pepin" Bosch returned to Cuba, "full of optimism". Though Raul Castro married into the Bacardis, the cocktail of communism and capitalism did not last.
In 1960, Bosch fled to Miami, where he built Bacardi into today's international drinks giant. In this fascinating dynastic yarn, Gjelten notes how the bat symbol on the Bacard label "represented faithfulness because bats always returned home."