It’s hot in Cuba, and we found lots of drinks to quench our thirst along the way. Below we’ve shared our favorites, from coffee and jugos naturales to daiquiris and mojitos. Cuba refreshed our days and rejuvenated our bodies after miles of walking and investigating all that the island has to offer.
Jugos Naturales – fruit, water and sweetener – honey or sugar – put it in a blender and you’ve a deliciously refreshing juice for breakfast, or whenever you need a lift. We started our days in Cuba with watermelon.
Coffee – Coffee has been grown in Cuba for more than two centuries, but it is more than the coffee that is grown, it is the culture that helps define Cuban coffee. I first encountered this culture while living on the edge of Little Havana neighborhood in Miami, but now, I can say that enjoyed a cafecito (an espresso shot sweetened with demerara sugar during the brewing process) first hand in Cuba.
A visit to Pinar del Rio unearthed another drink for me – Guayabita del Pinar – made only in this region, using the guayabita – smaller than the guava. Considered Pinar del Rio’s ‘tequila,’ the person who gets the last drink of the bottle gets the guayabita, and a bit of luck (which is much more palatable to me than a worm).
The mojito – We have been drinking mojitos for years (and served them at our Miami wedding), but this was our first Cuban-made mojito. Each bar we visited claimed that had the best in town.
Then there was the drink we had at the organic farm in Vinales. They called it ‘typical,’ with no specific name, but we did learn that it is made of pineapple juice and five medicinal herbs – anise, mint, yerba Buena, basil and cinnamon – along with milk and honey. It can be consumed as is, but we agreed to have a bit of ‘vitamin’ added (i.e. rum).
Cuba Bella – Lemon juice, grenadine, mint, and 7-year-old rum. Served at a restaurant in Plaza Vieja, which seemed to cater to the tourists. We endured the music (think Beatles with a Cuban rhythm), as we were soon heading to an evening filled with traditional Cuban rhythms.
Cuba Libre – Cuban rum, lime, and local ‘Coke’ served over ice — simple and delicious.
The Daiquiri – enjoyed at La Floridita in Habana Vieja, just where Hemingway enjoyed drinking them.