Cocktails around the World: Cuba

Taste

Cocktails are drunk all over the world and each country has their own specialties and signature cocktail drinks. With This segment “Cocktails around the world” we will cover three signature cocktails of a country. This time, it’s Cuba. The country is known for its, salsa, classic old timers, cigars, and of course rum.

 

Mojito

The Mojito is probably Cuba’s most famous cocktail. This cocktail has undergone numerous international variations with tequila, gin, Metaxa, soju or other local spirit substituting the Cuban rum. The origin of the Mojito dates back long before its rise in popularity during the prohibition in the 1920’s, though experts are still not a 100% sure about its exact creation. Some say the drink was created on the ships of Cuba’s first explorers, as a medicine to prevent scurvy. While others insist that its origin was in the sugarcane fields, when African slaves used lime and mint to mask the flavour of cheap rum. Hundreds of years later, Hemingway rediscovered this local beverage at La Bodeguita del Medio. Prepare your own Mojito in our DIY Mojito guide. The Mojito has a fresh, sweet and sour flavour to it, which makes it an ideal summer cocktail to drink by the pool or on a beach.

Daiquiri

The Daiquiri was invented in the early 1900’s near Daiquiri, a small village in eastern Cuba, by an American engineer who worked at a local iron mine. He discovered the Cuban cocktail when he ran out of gin, while entertaining guests at his party. He improvised a pitcher of light rum, fresh lime juice and sugar and named the drink after the nearby village. However, the modern Daiquiri was created at El Floridita, a bar well known for often hosting Hemingway. There the sugar was substituted for grapefruit juice and maraschino liquor, the ingredients were mixed in a blender and the strong but sweet version of the Daiquiri was named “Papa Doble”, after Hemingway himself.

Cuba Libre

A cocktail that could not be missed from this list of signature Cuban cocktails, is of course the Cuba Libre, the number two Cuban cocktail, after the Mojito. The Cuban “rum and coke” has been around from almost the same day Coca-Cola started shipping its product to Cuba in the 1900’s. The name, meaning “Free Cuba”, references Cuba’s newfound independence from Spain.