A luxury Cuba is famed for – besides its cigars – is rum, with Havana Club the leading name. I visit its Museum of Rum for an education in the distillation process and a tasting.
The darker rums have a rich flavor, with lighter ones used for cocktails. One place to drink those is the packed La Bodeguita del Medio, a tiny bar made famous to the wider world by Ernest Hemingway, whose autographed endorsement hangs in a frame.
The walls are covered in other notable autographs, with a section for you to add your own. This part is cleared off regularly, while the many celebrity names endure. It is now a tradition for tourists to have a mojito here and the bar-staff have a slick production line that makes the drinks as fast as tourists can hand over their cash. A mix of crushed mint and sugar with white rum, lime and soda, it is delicious.
A short walk away is El Floridita, now another tourist trap, where Hemingway drank daiquiri cocktails: white rum, lime juice and syrup shaken with ice and served in a cocktail glass. Unless you are one of the white-bearded
Hemingway impersonators who frequent his old haunts, you are more likely to enjoy a Cuba Libre: rum and Coca Cola. I sure do. This mixture of alcohol and the caffeinated American soda, another nod to Cuba’s links with the USA, keep us going hour after hour as we enjoy Havana’s nightlife.
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