When you think of Cuba two things spring to mind – cigars and rum (at least if you’re me). With its affinity for rum there’s no surprise that Cuba has been the birthplace of some of the most famous rum cocktails, also Havana itself has not one, but two of what I would class as historic bars, which I’m going to talk about a little here if you would indulge me.
El Floridita was originally named "La Piña de Plata" (The Silver Pineapple) and first opened its doors in the distant past of 1817. In the early 1900’s the influence of the large number of American tourists persuaded the owner to change the name to "El Florida", but with time it became popularly known as El Floridita.
The establishment is famous for two things,– firstly the patronage of Ernest Hemingway, the bar is full of memorabilia of the author, with even a life-size statue at the end of the bar, and secondly their daiquiris.
El Floridita is heavy a tourist destination and certainly more expensive than your average bar in Havana, but the prices aren’t extortionate by any means. Stepping through the doors is much like stepping back in time to its golden age in the 1950s, with its elaborate interior and red coated waiters. If you are a fan of either Ernest Hemingway or cocktail history I’d say this bar is well worth a visit.
La Bodeguita del Medio
Like many places in Havana La Bodeguita main claim to fame is Ernest Hemingway, with the famous graffiti on the wall "My mojito in La Bodeguita, my daiquiri in El Floridita.” Whilst its likely Hemmingway did visit the bar most of his biographers are dubious about the authenticity of this quote, mainly because nowhere in Hemmingway’s literature does he ever mention mojito’s, despite him being known for writing about drinks he had a liking for (like the afore mentioned daiquiri).
Despite La Bodeguita somewhat disputed claims to fame (you can’t blame the owner for clever marketing) it’s well worth a visit for its bohemian charm and to see the rooms full of curios, photos, and walls full of signatures of their customers.
Whether the quote "my mojito in La Bodeguita, my daiquiri in El Floridita” was written by Hemmingway or not, it’s certainly a good recommendation, and no aspiring SilverFox’s trip to Havana would be complete without visiting these historic venues.