The best local drinks to try in Cuba

photo by empty007

Cuba is the land of sun, salsa and cigars, but it is also famous for its  mouth watering cuisine and drinks. Cuban edibles and drinkables are the result of Spanish, Caribbean and African influences, which combined into something so delicious that no visitor to Cuba can resist. If you’ve already had a taste of the most well known Cuban dishes, you can proceed to wash them down with something. Whether you prefer your drinks with or without alcohol, there is no shortage of yummy liquids that you can ingest in Cuba. Some of the drinks became so famous that they can be found all over the globe, but still, they taste best when you drink them in their home country. Here are some of the best local drinks to try in Cuba.

Daiquiri

Daiquiri is a beach near Santiago de Cuba, and its origins can be traced back to the 19th century. The inventors of the recipe were supposedly some American mining engineers working in the region, who ran out of gin. There are lots of variations on the original recipe (rum, lime juice, sugar) even in Cuba, but the most famous daiquiris are the ones made in El Foridita bar, where Ernest Hemingway himself drank his daiquiris.

Mojito

El Floridita, photo by Roberto D'Angelo

Seeing as how mojito has become the favorite drinks of millions of people in the world, it’s no wonder that it is one of the best local drinks to try in Cuba. Mojito is somewhat similar to the daiquiri: it has white rum, sugar cane juice, lime, sparkling water and mint. The traditional Cuban mojitos uses a type of mint that is very common on the island, called yerba buena. Hemingway enjoyed his mojitos just as much as his daiquiris, and he famously declared that the best mojito can be found in Bodeguita del medio, in Havana.

Rum

Cuban rum is world-famous, but once you find yourself in Cuba you will be overwhelmed with all the choices. The most famous brand of rum, Havana Club, is one of the most expensive but not necessarily the best. You can find all sorts of rum, white or dark, depending on the region, and the medium-priced kinds are sometimes better the the tourist-trappy famous brands.

Tropical fruit juices

photo by alex Brown

With huge amounts of fresh tropical fruit in the area, fresh fruit juices and smoothies are readily available in Cuba. Fruit drinks are more common than water, pretty cheap, and a great and healthy way to quench your thirst. Juices and smoothies are made from a variety of fruit and combinations thereof: papaya, mamey, mango, pineapples, etc.

Cuban espresso

If you need to get your caffeine fix, don’t bother looking for Starbucks-like chain stores serving oversized and oversweetened coffee. Cuban espresso is related to Italian espresso, but it is brewed with demeraro sugar, and drinking it has risen to the rank of ritual in Cuba.

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