One of my favorite things about living in Canada is how diverse our country is, and how we embrace and celebrate different cultures. That diversity makes our holiday season all the more vibrant and engaging, especially if you take the time to learn how different people celebrate the season in their own ways.
Recently, I got the chance to experience a wonderful holiday tradition from Puerto Rico called the Parranda. In this warm-hearted and positive party crawl concept, an unexpected knock on your door will reveal your family ready to bring the celebration to you, complete with food, drinks and live music right on your doorstep. Playfully referred to as “asalto navideño”, (translation: Christmas invasion), the practice involves the Parranda party goers, called parranderos, taking the holiday celebrations from one house to another, singing traditional folk songs called aguinaldos (which translates to gift in Puerto Rican Spanish) and surprising friends and family at each destination. As the night goes on, the band of merrymakers grows larger with every stop, with the parranderos singing and playing music as the group’s personal live music soundtrack. Throughout the celebratory journey, parranderos gather more and more friends and families to take part in the festivities, with singing, dancing, drinking and eating going often go late into the night, making for a happy holiday party that no one will forget.
Puerto Rico is the birthplace of Bacardi, and the brand put their special spin on their annual holiday party, by turning it into their version of a Parranda. Instead of going from house to house gathering friends and family, we took to the trendiest nightlife destination in Toronto, King Street West, and turned our holiday party into a cool kids party crawl. And in true Bacardi fashion, at every destination we were greeted with a delicious craft cocktail, made with one of the 3 premium Bacardi rums; Bacardi Anejo Cuatro (aged four years), Reserva Ocho, famed as the Bacardi family’s own personal reserve, and Gran Reserva Diez, the mature rum for the scotch drinker who has everything.
Brand ambassador Kristopher Bahamondes even created a couple of custom holiday cocktails that we would savor on our Paranda stops. We started with the customary Coquito at Goldie, made with Bacardi Anejo Cuatro, as we learned all about Parrandas and sampled the Anejo Diez.
We then moved to Escobar, a King Street Speakeasy with a sexy South American feel. Here we were greeted by a band playing Christmas songs with that same Puerto Rican Flair, and we sipped on a custom-crafted cocktail called the Queen’s Punch.
Oh, and Santa even made an appearance, spreading cheer and Christmas crackers with Bacardi themed surprises inside.
And finally, we ended our Parranda at Petty Cash, where we were greeted by a group of dancers and offered Season’s Greetings, both the sentiments and a new custom drink made by Kris himself.
It was a great night filled with friends, fun and fabulous cocktails courtesy of Bacardi.
Whether you decide to plan your own Parranda, or throw a holiday party whichever way you want, consider serving the divine holiday cocktails we enjoyed at this amazing event.
1.5 parts BACARDÍ Cuatro
0.75 parts Canned Coconut Milk
0.75 parts Canned Cream of Coconut
1.5 parts Canned Condensed Milk
2.5 parts Canned Evaporated Milk
1 parts White Sugar
1 bar spoon Ground Cinnamon
2 dashes Vanilla Extract
Method: Combine all ingredients in a rocks glass and serve on ice
Bacardi Queen’s Punch
2 parts BACARDÍ Ocho
0.5 parts honey
0.75 parts lemon juice
1 part apple cider (Juice)
1 part Perrier
2 parts dry sparkling apple cider (5%abv) Brickworks
Garnish with cinnamon sticks, optional dehydrated apple slices
Method: In a large wine glass, add the Ocho, honey and lemon juice. Fill the glass with ice and stir gently to mix the ingredients. Top with Perrier and Apple cider. Stir again gently to mix, top with more ice. Garnish and serve.
Bacardi Season’s Greetings
2 parts BACARDÍ Cuatro
0.5 parts honey
0.75 parts lime juice
1 part white cranberry juice
Garnish with pomegranate seeds (optional dehydrated citrus)
Method: In a mixing tin, add the Cuatro, honey, lime juice and cranberry juice. Fill the tin with ice and shake vigorously to dilute and chill. Double strain the cocktail into a rocks glass over fresh ice and garnish with pomegranate seeds.
Happy holidays, and please drink responsibly to keep the season safe for everyone.
This post is a sponsored partnership with Bacardi and Addicted Media Inc.