This morning I was looking through some old photographs of our time in Havana. That sounds romantic, doesn’t it? Way better than “I was scrolling through pictures on my phone looking for something else, when I was distracted by some old vacation pictures.” It’s all in how you set the scene sometimes, how you spin it. Still, it is true and it made me think about this drink. So, won’t you please join me now as we stand and make the classic, La Florida.

This drink is on the menu at Havana’s renowned El Floridita and has been since the late 1920’s, when it was created by owner, Constante Ribailagua. I’m not quite sure why this place has the masculine modifier, we didn’t cover that in class. I do know that it throws me off when I see it and I almost always get it wrong, by getting it right, grammatically. Of course, El Floridita is famed as the home of the original Daiquiri, but this cocktail deserves it’s place on modern menus, even if Hemingway did not write about it. This bar has a lot of that going on. It was hangout of Ezra Pound, Grahame Greene and John Dos Passos, among others, but only Hemingway has a statue at the bar. There are lots of amazing drinks on the menu, but the Daiquiri steals the limelight. So in the interest of equal time, being fair and balanced and all that let’s make it.

Grab your tins and pop in 1 ounce of white rum, I chose Havana Club 3 year, naturally; 1/2 an ounce of sweet vermouth, 1 teaspoon each of Cointreau and grenadine, 1 ounce of fresh squeezed lime juice and, here’s the kicker, 1/4 ounce of creme de cacao. Add ice and shake to the beat of “Candela” by the Buena Vista Social Club. When well-chilled, double strain into some delicate stemware and garnish with a dehydrated lime wheel.

This one is fun, not quite what I expected. Everything works nicely. That 1/4 ounce of creme de cacao adds a really nice underflavor. It is sublte and if you did not know the ingredients you might not be able to pick it out but it works so well. There is something really interesting about the way it plays with the lime in particular. I feel like we should explore more chocolate in our cocktails. So that’s probably going to happen.

In fact, I feel confident that’s gonna happen. I mean, it’s basically anarchy in here, following my whims as they blow this way and that, so why wouldn’t we do a thing I want to. I’ll do some research and see what I can dig up. Looking around, reading recipes and learning is a big part of the fun for me. It is kind of like the research I usually do when I am preparing to travel to somewhere new for the first time. A bit of living vicariously, traveling from my desk. We are taking shorter journeys now, like from the living room to the kitchen to make a drink, but we can still enjoy the trip; here’s to the journey. Stay safe, stay hydrated and stay sane, my friends.