Havana Spotlight: Cuban Cocktails and Where to Find Them

mojitos-300x200The best way to end a hot day in sunny Havana, whether you’re there for business or pleasure, is with a cold drink (or two). But contrary to the craft beer craze here in the States, in Cuba it’s more about where you drink as opposed to what you drink. If you’re looking for a hoppy IPA or nitro stout, for example, prepare to be disappointed. But with an open mind, you’ll be more than content with a Havana cocktail. Here are a few places in Havana that shouldn’t be missed on your next visit.

El Floridita

El Floridita is a historic bar just across the street from the National Museum of Fine Arts of Havana, making for the perfect afternoon combo. After all, fine art is so much finer after a drink.

Whether you decide to indulge your aesthetic side or not, you can’t go wrong at “The Cradle of the Daiquiri.” If the prospect of having one of the best fruity rum cocktails in the world excites you, then you’re in good company; this establishment attracted some famous regulars over the years, including authors Ernest Hemingway, Ezra Pound, and Graham Greene. Hemingway himself is rumored to have downed 17 of El Floridita’s famous daiquiris in one afternoon.

You can feel the history when you walk in, especially when you realize that it looks pretty much the same as it did many decades ago when Hemingway slugged down his famous Floridita daiquiris.

Live music is the cherry on top for this historic establishment.

 

La Bodeguita del Medio

Just as El Floridita is famous for its daiquiri, La Bodeguita del Medio is famous for its mojito. This establishment claims to be the birthplace of the popular cocktail, and once you try it, you won’t even care if they’re telling the truth or not.

You’ll be in good company during a visit to La Bodeguita del Medio–it was frequented by various celebrities and artists, including Nat King Cole and Salvador Allende.  The establishment has been so successful that it has branched out to various other countries, including the United States, Italy, Germany, and more.

Not to be forgotten is the live music, which complements those mojitos oh so well.

 

El Chanchullero

This tapas bar exceeds all expectations. Despite its dive bar atmosphere, it offers some of the best tapas in town, wonderful cocktails, and rooftop dining in the heart of Old Havana.

Browse the reviews and you’ll find that one of the first (and only) negative things people say is that there’s usually a long wait. The second thing they say, however, is that the wait was well worth it. El Chanchullero doesn’t boast the same sort of prestigious clientele as El Floridita or El Bodeguita, but what it lacks in history it makes up for in cheap, tasty Cuban food and drink, and a charming atmosphere.

 

If you’re visiting Havana soon, be sure to check in for the next Havana Spotlight!