Michael B. Jordan may play everyone’s favorite villan Eric Killmonger and super shredded boxer Adonis Creed in blockbuster hits Black Panther and the Creed movies but IRL he’s a New Jersey native who loves funfetti cake and rum. In fact, the actor is a self-professed “rum guy” and even co-owns NYC rum bar Las’ Lap.
Somehow in between throwing an epic 32nd birthday party during Grammys weekend, which included guests like the Carters and Drake, and on the cusp of his upcoming Oscars appearance and Valentine’s Day, MBJ found time to host an exclusive mixology lab with BACARDÍ at the intimate rum bar.
The experience was part of his ongoing partnership with the brand, following the recent debut of “The Angel’s Share” short films, which were co-directed by Jordan and tell the story about how BACARDÍ’s aged rums are made. But on this night (Feb. 13), he tapped into his passion for rum with a cocktail-making class featuring the BACARDÍ Premium Rum Portfolio including a drink straight out of Wakanda—the King Cuatro!
The recipe (see below) for the purple confection was created in collaboration with the rum buff himself, and it’s been making its rounds on the Hollywood circuit, including his star-studded party. Yes, this is what he was sippin’ on with Jay and Bey, and yes, BET Digital chatted with Jordan himself about all things rum-related, what really went down on his birthday and his anticipation for Oscars night.
BET: How did this partnership with Bacardi happen?
Michael B. Jordan: Growing up my grandmother had a tradition making rum cakes. I’ve been around them all my life pretty much. I used to help my grandma carry her groceries from the store and it would be like these two gallons of Bacardi Gold rum that went into her cakes. I just remember that so vividly and helping her make them; stuff like that. So fast forward however many years now, my best friends and I were thinking of doing some kind of investing and we wanted to do a venture together. We were like, "Let’s do a rum bar." There’s tequila, there’s vodka—all these other spirits that are more popular and hype around.
I’m trying to do my own thing. We just kind of doubled down and invested in rum. It just so happened that I did a collaboration with Bacardi to direct one of their commercial spots for their new premium rum. For me, it’s just letting things fall in place. I try to stay out of my own way so this kind of worked out.
BET: Can you talk about the drink you created for this collaboration and what inspired it?
MBJ: It’s called King Cuatro [and uses] BACARDÍ Añejo Cuatro. Four is my favorite number, also, so that kind of tied in to that.
B: That’s very Beyoncé and Jay-Z of you [laughs]…
MBJ: See, when he came out with the album 4:44, I was so upset [laughs]! I was like, "OK, they took my number, and now everybody’s going to think I’m copying them." But that’s been my number for as long as I can remember since I was a kid. I see it everywhere. It follows me.
So, it's kind of inspired by that and Black Panther. Like the blackberries, and it kind of adds a purple color to it because that was the royal color of Wakanda. My favorite color is purple randomly as well. It’s my birthstone.
B: That worked out well then!
MBJ: It works so well. It’s so many things that fell into place. A lot of things went into it. I wanted a signature drink. Black Panther has been a huge success, Bacardi [Añejo] Cuatro, my favorite number—it all worked out.
B: So since we’re talking about spirits, do you have a favorite drinking game?
MBJ: 'Would You Rather’ is always a good one. Uh, I haven’t played one of these in forever. It’s Kings Cup, with the cards. That’s during the years I would’ve been in college, like early 20s, right around there. I’ve definitely played that a couple of times.
B: If you had to pick a partner for a drinking game from one of your former co-stars, who would you pick?
MBJ: I’m going with Tessa [Thomspson]. She doesn't like losing, and she’s pretty competitive so she would be able to [go toe-to-toe].
B: The Oscars are coming up, and obviously you’re going to be busy, but if you weren’t and going to be home, like the rest of us regular folk, and you were throwing an Oscars watch party, what would be the vibe be?
MBJ: A lot of people I would probably want to invite would be at the Oscars. I’m a big foodie, I like chops, so maybe some grilled lamb chops. I love queso, so maybe make some bomb queso. I love cooking, so I cook a lot. Make some guacamole. Make some smoked chicken wings. Brisket sliders.
B: That’s a pretty cool menu….
MBJ: You want things that people can share but also somebody that can make a little plate and have a variety to eat.
B: I saw on Instagram, you had a pretty amazing birthday party recently. Can you give us any details we didn’t get from the ‘gram?
MBJ: Yeah! It started off as a dinner with my close friends and family. And then it rolled into a party. I didn’t know everybody that was invited, so I didn’t know exactly who was gonna show up.
B: Did you know Jay and Bey were going to show up?
MBJ: You never really know if Jay and Bey are going to show up. Let’s just be clear. You’re never really sure. But the fact that they did was kind of a surprise and [we all] a great time. It was pretty incredible. It was Grammys weekend. They could be in a million other places. I don’t do music. I’m not like a rapper or anything like that, so for them to show me some love and support on my birthday meant a lot. The internet kind of went crazy over that so it was cool.
The King Cuatro
Method: Muddle blackberries in a tin and pour in all cocktail ingredients. Shake and strain into coupe glass. Top with MARTINI & ROSSI prosecco and garnish with a blackberry-speared purple orchid.
(Photo courtesy of BACARDÍ/Getty)