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Can’t make it to Havana? Pretend with these Cuban cocktails

on 11/01/11 at 5:40 pm


The Caribbean may be famed for alcoholic drinks but Cuba, which invented mojitos and daiquiris, is the big daddy of cocktails. Here’s how to make three.

Cuba and cocktails go back a long way. Daiquiris were purportedly being downed in the mountains of Cuba as early as the 1890’s. Home of the infamous Havana rum, Havana Club and also the place where Bacardi began, the country has historically had an abundant choice of alcohol to mix with its plentiful supply of fresh fruit. Ernest Hemingway, during his stint in Cuba in the 1950’s and 1960’s, also did much to popularise Cuban cocktails, particularly the Hemingway Daiquiri and Hemingway Mojito: recipes still favoured by many bartenders as the optimum ways of making these drinks. With legendary bars like El Floridita, Havana and then Cuba as a whole became renowned for its tasty cocktails, and hasn’t looked back since.

Having just researched the latest Lonely Planet Cuba guide, the below three recipes are the very best I discovered in the country for mojito, daiquiri and the Cuban pina colada. Also listed are the best places in Cuba to try these drinks.

Traditional Mojito Recipe

Forget mint juleps or any of the other mint drinks: the mojito cocktail, straight from Cuba and made with Havana Club light rum, is the way forward. The best place to try them in Cuba? Hostal Doña Hilda, on the outskirts of Viñales in Pinar del Río province, or the rooftop bar at Havana’s Hotel Ambos Mundos.


  • 1 ounce of fresh lime juice
  • 8 to 10 medium fresh mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon of fine white sugar
  • 2 ounces of light rum
  • 4 ounces of chilled soda
  • Ice


  1. In a highball glass, mix together the lime juice, mint leaves and sugar until all the sugar has dissolved.
  2. Add rum.
  3. Fill up the glass with ice.
  4. Top off the glass with the chilled soda.
  5. Garnish with Mint.
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