Few places in the world can inspire the party spirit of the Caribbean quite like the sunny, passionate island of Cuba. Since linking arms with the wider world, the Caribbean’s largest island has proudly strutted its cultural stuff for us all to see, and that’s seen thousands of us jetting off to enjoy some fun in the sun there.
Don’t think it’s all lazy beach days and cultural tours of Hispanic architecture though. In fact, when the sun goes down, the ambience picks up, and you’re going to find that Cuba’s nightlife is as lively, enticing and sumptuous as they come. Of course, the fact that some of the best cocktails in the world come from this island of wonders always helps too. Take a few pointers from us before you fly off to Cuba, and you’ll know what to drink, where to drink it and who to drink with.
Venues across Cuba
Whether you’re by the shore or taking a city trip, you aren’t going to be left lacking for places to visit after dark. In fact, with so many to choose from, what you really want to do is head to Cuba forearmed with some key knowledge of the best places to relax, dance and meet the locals. Those of you heading to Havana would do well to stop by famous spots like Tropicana full of colourful costumes and El Floridita – a bar as aged and mellow as the rums they pour there, and said to be Ernest Hemingway’s favourite.
El Floridita evokes all the style and class of Cuba’s more upmarket locales without hiking up the prices to match, and for history, tall tales and the best cocktails in the capital, you’d do well to drop by. If you’re instead enjoying the coastal nightlife of Varadero, you can let your inner corsair caper at La Cueva Del Pirata. If sipping rum and coke in a cave-bar isn’t unique enough for you, the entire place is themed after pirates and buccaneers, and top entertainment takes the stage here night after night.
Close to Guardalavaca, Halguin is where more traditional rhythms ring out into the night, and nowhere is that more true than at Casa de la Trova. Authentic bolero sounds by skilled musicians are a splendid accompaniment to drinks made with love and smiles on every side.
Dabbling in drinks
You’ve probably heard of many of Cuba’s most famous drinks before, but don’t overlook the island’s hidden tipple treasures. The daiquiri was invented here, being a timeless blend of sugar, ice, rum and lemon juice and some fruity flavour variants, and between it and the minty zing of a good mojito, it’s easy to see why Hemingway was so intensely fond of Cuba.
Lime, cola and rum are par for the course back home, but made with a good Cuban vintage they form the Cuba Libra, also known as the Cubata. On the spicier side is the Cubanito, which contains hot sauce as well as the classic rum combo, while Cuba’s sunny whether ensures that you can drink as many pina coladas as you like without getting caught in the rain.
For a true taste of tradition, you need to let in some tropical flair. Sophisticated souls will adore the Cuban Ginger, with rum aged for seven years mixed with ginger ale and a zingy apple liqueur. If fruit is your fancy, the Havana Loco mixes rum and freshly squeezed fruit juice, while a true Caribbean experience can be found in a Saoco, which is a coconut cocktail where the rum and its compadres rests in half a hollowed coconut.
Book a Cuba holiday today and you could be enjoying one of these beautiful cocktails on a white-sand Caribbean beach.
Ocean Vista Azul
Varadero, Caribbean, Cuba
Starfish Cayo Santa Maria
Cayo Santa Maria, Caribbean, Cuba
Which Cuban cocktail do you feel best defines this vibrant sunshine island?