During BCB, we spoke with the now former global ambassador of Havana Club Rum. Audrey Hands has been a bartender for years with enviable positions that preceded this one. She recently announced on social media that they are parting ways, but her love for rum will live on forever. This fact does not even surprise us since she spent the last eight years in that position.
You can read more about her love for Rum, the beginning of her career and life in Mexico in the interview.
What does it takes to change your lifeand be a French girl living now in in Mexico, working for Cuban company ambassadors.
Well, I actually studied Hispanic studies at university and I’ve always been very passionate about Latin American culture. And when I saw it as a bartender, I fell in love straight away with rum and agave spirits. I then started working for Havana Club and then one thing after another led to another. And I just started living in in Mexico during the pandemic.
You worked as a bartender before? Where?
I started working as a bartender in London. I worked in a couple of quite iconic places like “Floridita” that used to be a very iconic bar in in London. I also worked for “Hicks” and I was there in “Trailer Happiness”, which is a quite a famous tiki bar in London.
I then lived in Italy and worked in Italy for a while and then I ended up in Australia in Sydney working in a couple of bars there like “Palmer and Co”.
And then I moved on and then from there in Sydney I started working for Pernod Ricard.
During pandemic, you went to Mexico. Why Mexico?
Why not Mexico? I have family in Mexico. I was living in Toronto before. The restrictions were quite difficult, the cold was quite difficult, and I was meant to be in Mexico for three months and now it’s been nearly three years.
What you can say about rum before five years now, and what will happen in the next five years?
I mean, rum is growing at the speed of lightning to me this past few days checking out all of the rum stands. What is so beautiful with rum is that you know, there is, there are no, no rules. You know, rum is the most diversified spirit category in the world. I’m seeing that there’s a lot of innovation. There is a lot of also new experiences around rum and you can expect to see in the next five years, as well, that consumers and people are going to be able to enjoy rum in a different style and a different drink in a different environment every day more and more and.
I’m more into classics.
I mean, I think that, you know, it has a lot to do with innovation, which is great because it’s from customer demand. If customers are asking for new products and to grow in our portfolio, then it’s great because it challenges us as well as a brand and as a category.
What’s not the job. I think it’s very different from one brand ambassador to another. And I’ve been working for Havana Club for eight years, seven years as a global brand ambassador and my role has actually changed drastically a lot even now in the pandemic, you know, I was working a lot with the export team in terms of market consultancy for how to implement our global strategy and my responsibilities as Audrey Hands, Havana Club Global Brand Ambassador is in charge of our global communication education drink strategy and making sure that our brand ambassadors are happy as well in their countries.
I have visited Havana in Cuba. What do you prefer? What is the best time to visit the distillery in Cuba?
Don’t go in August and September. I think a really good time is at the end of the year or the beginning of the year. So like November to March – April is amazing, amazing weather. Sometimes you get bit of rain, but it’s the tropical rain, so it’s really, really interesting to see.
What makes Havana so special?
We are we are the voice of not just a product that’s the product the rum of Cuba but will also culture where a lifestyle. When you think about cocktails rum cocktails most of the rum cocktails that will come to my work created in Cuba like the Cuba Libre, Mojito, Daiquiri.
So if you’re going to make a Cuban cocktail, please use Cuban rum. And we’ve been working for so many years and perfecting our rums before our Cuban cocktails and also sipping to have an amazing sensorial journey when you are going to be sipping our extra aged Cuban as well.
Well, what is your favorite cuban cocktail?
You’re asking me to choose in between my babies? It depends on my mood. My favorite rum cocktail is Chancellor Royal, which is Havana club seven, honey syrup, lime, shake it and then top top with champagne. It’s also known as the Airmail.
OK, the second one is we have it here on the stand today, Cafe Canela, which is Seleccion de maestros with coffee, one shot of coffee and cinnamon syrup.
What is your advice how to use rum in your bar? How to suggest rum to the guest, how to try, what to try?
Ohh absolutely. So First things first is you always ask them what spirit they like or what type of cocktail they like. Now what’s great with Havana Club is that we have a really strong portfolio to be able to meet everyone’s palate.
Dear Audrey, thank you on your time.