Popular as he now is, the world still has much to learn about Michael B. Jordan—like, for example, that he’s not averse to wearing a harness on the red carpet à la Timothée Chalamet. Not only does the actor still live with his parents, but he also co-owns a new rum bar, Las’ Lap, on Manhattan’s Lower East Side, which is where he could be found earlier this week.
Jordan isn’t actually much of a partyer. Rather, he was about to give the bar a lesson in cocktail making, which centered, of course, on rum, specifically Bacardi, which recently tapped Jordan to direct a series of short films. (It also sponsored his recent 32nd birthday party in L.A., where Beyoncé, Jay-Z, and Drake showed up.)
Between sips of Bacardi’s new Black Panther–themed drink and bites of Funfetti birthday cake—which, for Jordan, is really the only kind of cake—Jordan explained how he got to be a rum aficionado and shared his thoughts on hangovers and harnesses.
How did you get into rum?
Rum cakes are kind of traditional in my family, so my grandmother made a lot of homemade ones when I was growing up. I was like her muscle—I used to help her bring in her groceries, and I just remember bringing in these jugs of Bacardi Gold rum for her and helping her make them as a kid. That was kind of like my first introduction to rum. I’d taste the glaze and the sauce and be like, Oh, man, what’s that flavor? I mean, obviously she’d cook it down, and there was all this sugar and butter, but it was so amazing.
Is she still alive?
No, she passed away, so this is definitely in her spirit. She passed her recipe down to my mom, so my mom makes them now, and Oprah had a chance to taste them. She posted a video of her and Stedman eating the rum cakes, which I know made my grandmother pretty happy because she’s a big fan of Oprah. It’s been really incredible.
And then it was kind of randomly, but when I got older, my best friends and I decided to go in on a rum bar. We were trying to figure out the right way to do it because a lot of spirits are kind of oversaturated right now—you know, everybody has tequila and mezcal—and rum seems to have been kind of left out. It hadn’t been getting the attention that it needed, so we were like, Let’s do a very niche, very specific rum bar. And this is where we’re at.
When did you start having a more sophisticated relationship to alcohol—not drinking just to get drunk?
Probably in my mid-20s, with the finesse of networking. That’s when I started drinking during meetings or, you know, with executives in Hollywood. You really start to know what executives drink or what producers drink—it’s like a fine little hidden language between spirits and bars that you find out. I think that’s where I really got my real introduction to alcohol.
Is there anything you’ve learned to steer clear of during a meeting?
Stay away from shots at a business meeting. [Laughs.] I’ve never done that before, but I’d say no to that. I think you definitely find the spirit that you’re able to drink socially and still be coherent and present in the meeting. Mixed drinks are always good, or a beer. Anything too crazy, too strong, you stay away from.
I’m guessing you don’t drink too much when you’re training for movies like Black Panther and Creed since you’re already drinking a gallon and a half of water a day.
No, I don’t. Or if I do, it’s something clear, though I don’t really care for vodka that much. It’s hard to drink when you’re training because you really want to keep your body as clean as possible. And when you’re eating clean for such a long time, a little bit of anything kind of gives you a buzz. A beer would get you buzzed even if you’re eating food. You definitely have to ease your way back into drinking after training so hard.
What’s it like to drink at home since you live with your parents?
I don’t make them drinks, but my mom makes a pretty good sangria. I always let it sit in the fridge for a while so that the fruit soaks it in. Then I’ll go back after a couple days and clean up the fruit. [Laughs.]
Do you have a go-to hangover cure?
Coconut water. Like, fresh, fresh coconut water. Like from an actual coconut.
Where do you get an actual coconut?
That’s the real question. I get them sent in, or I try to find special shops that sell them. But if you can catch it before you go to sleep and chug water or coconut water or Gatorade or a Pedialyte, by the morning you should be okay.
What did Beyoncé drink at your birthday?
D’ussé, of course! You know, it’s pretty cool to have [her and Jay-Z] show up to my birthday party. It was pretty great. It was one of those things where people confirm that they’re coming, and then you’re like, eh, they’re probably not going to show up. It’s Grammys weekend, and there are so many other parties that were going on, so just for a lot of my friends to show up was a big deal.
Do you know what you’re going to wear to the Oscars? Is there another harness in store?
I’m still figuring it out. You know, I think for me and fashion right now, I’m taking a little bit more risks and allowing people to talk about it. I think before, when you’re kind of coming up, you want to be a little safer and not do anything to kind of…not negative press, but for people to talk about it not in the best way. Now I’m doing things because I really want to do them and because I really like them. And I don’t mind giving people something to talk about.
Why did you want to wear the harness?
Honestly, Virgil [Abloh]. It was his first kind of collaboration with Louis [Vuitton], and he’s been a supporter of mine. I wore him to the Met last year. And it was cool—I kind of dug the holster-harness look. At the afterparty, I took my blazer off and just wore the collared shirt with the harness, and it was a cool look. So I got two looks out of it.
Is it comfortable?
Oh, yeah, it’s very comfortable!