In the final instalment of Elysium Magazine’s three-part special on Cuba we look at the cocktails the discerning gent should be enjoying when visiting this captivating island. Cuba is of the land of rum – it’s a speciality throughout the Caribbean and the Cubans do this particular tipple extremely well with the abundance of sugar cane the country produces.
As well as enjoying the perfect drink, thought should be given to where you’re drinking too. Cuba is full of amazing drinking spots – from low key drinking dens to decadent bars. It’s all about your mood and your drink of choice, so arm yourself with the knowledge and step up to the bar in assured style.
Daiquiri @ El Floridita
If you’ve read our guide to Cuba you’ll know that El Floridita is the place to go for a great daiquiri. The cocktail made famous by Ernest Hemingway is always refreshing after a long day sightseeing. El Floridita was the first bar to use a blender to crush the ice for a daiquiri and in doing so created one of the best thirst-quenching cocktails ever. Available in many fruity flavours too.
Where: Habana Veija
Mojito @ La Bodeguita del Medio
This classic Cuban highball cocktail has secured its place on many drinkers’ top five lists for good reason – fresh, easy to make and potent. The white rum, mint, lime juice, sugar, and soda water over ice captures all that is great about drinking in Cuba. The best place to get one is Havana’s second most popular bar – La Bodeguita del Medio, also favoured by Hemingway. Small and quaint, this place gets very busy once the tourist buses arrive but it’s really worth a visit to see the walls covered in messages from previous visitors.
Where: Habana Veija
Cuba Libre @ Hotel Nacional de Cuba
The Cuba libre is perhaps the easiest cocktail to put together on this list, but that doesn’t lessen its appeal as one of the best Cuban cocktails. The three elements – cola, white rum and lime go together like a trio of friends. Head to the Hotel Nacional de Cuba and enjoy this cocktail in the garden overlooking the Malecón. The hotel was the infamous base for the annual mafia ‘conferences’ and you can bet Lucky Luciano enjoyed a few Cube Libres in his time. Also a favourite haunt of Frank Sinatra too.
Where: Centro Habana
Pina Colada @ Varadero Beach
The classic pina colada cocktail goes hand-in-hand with a tropical holiday regardless of the country you’re in. However in Cuba they do a really good one. Fresh pineapple, coconut and white rum make this a fantastic holiday drink and the best ones are served in hollowed out pineapples where you get to choose how much rum you top up in your cocktail – so go crazy and enjoy. Best enjoyed on the ivory-white sands of Varadero beach.
Where: a sunny spot on Varadero beach
El Presidente @ Restaurent Bar La Ceiba
The El Presidente cocktail is a stylish drink that’s perfect for the discerning gent. A combination of white rum, vermouth and grenadine makes for a very flavoursome cocktail. Best enjoyed in the vibrant city of Trinidad as the locals limber up for a night of salsa and rumba beats.
Where: off Plaza Mayor, Trinidad
Do you have a favourite Cuba cocktail? Let us know your drink of choice and your recommendation on where the perfect serve is on Twitter!