Leave it to Startup Cuba's Cynthia Carris Alonso to score the recipes for BOTH Bodeguita del Medio's Mojito and El Floridita's daiquiris.
el floridita daiquiri being poured in havana cuba
El Floridita daiquiris being poured in Old Havana, Cuba. Photo: Cynthia Carris Alonso

It’s a long weekend here in the States, so I’d be remiss if I didn’t help you bring at least some classic Cuban flavors to your holiday celebration. The best way to do that? The El Floridita Daiquiri (and Bodeguita del Medio Mojito – sorpresa!), cocktail recipes direct from my book, A Taste of Cuba, shared with me by some of the best bartenders in Havana!

Specifically speaking, the inspiration for this post comes from renowned American author, Ernest Hemingway. Having spent many years living and writing in Cuba, he’s known to have said: “My mojito in La Bodeguita,
My daiquiri in El Floridita.”
So of course we bring the delicious drink recipes and experiences to you straight from these notorious places in Havana.

El Floridita after Renovation, Havana, Cuba. Photo: Cynthia Carris Alonso

El Floridita Daiquiri Recipe

To really enjoy this daiquiri, I suggest you imagine you are sitting near the large, life-size, bronze sculpture of Hemingway (sculpted by the Cuban artist José Villa Soberón) at the famous Floridita bar in Habana Vieja. It welcomes visitors and resides in what was supposedly the author’s favorite seat. The 1940s and ‘50s El Floridita atmosphere has been preserved with the bar design and wall décor, and one can often hear a live music performance with tunes from the time. One of the professional bartenders will take your order of either the original daiquiri or the strawberry flavored blended treat. 

Related Post: Finca El Paraíso’s Anti-Stress Drink Will Make Your Worries Disappear

Classic Daiquiri 

Serves 1

  • 3 tablespoons light rum
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 5 drops maraschino liqueur

Blend all ingredients together with 4 ounces of crushed ice until smooth, and then serve.

Note: Some bartenders make a variation on the Classic Daiquiri by adding fresh fruit or juices such as strawberries or guava.

ernest hemingway statue el floridita havana cuba
El Floridita in Old Havana, Cuba. Photo: Cynthia Carris Alonso

Hemingway Daiquiri 

Serves 1

If you’re like Hemingway and prefer a stronger and more sour taste, you can enjoy the ‘Papa Doble.’ named after the writer, who was affectionately known as ‘Papa’ by his fans and friends in Cuba, and requested his daiquiris to be made without sugar and double (doble) the amount of rum!

  • 4 tablespoons light rum
  • 1 tablespoon grapefruit juice
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons fresh lime juice
  • 5 drops maraschino liqueur

Blend all ingredients together with 4 ounces of crushed ice until smooth, and then serve.

Bodeguita del Medio mojito
La Bodeguita del Medio in Havana, Cuba. Photo: Cynthia Carris Alonso

Classic Mojito at Bodeguita del Medio

Nearby and further into the heart of Old Havana, is the original Bodeguita del Medio, which claims to be the birthplace of the Cuban cocktail known as the Mojito, a cool citrus flavored rum drink. The “Mojito” name is believed to have come from the Spanish word mojar, which means to wet, or the African word mojo, which means a magic spell. The classic mojito has become one of the world’s most popular and refreshing cocktails.

After you’ve dabbled in the Floridita daiquiri recipe, here’s the mojito from Bodeguita del Medio:

  • 4 sprigs mint (In Cuba, they use Yerba Buena, a mint-like herb that is hard to find, so can be replaced with mint)
  • 1 tablespoon Sugar or more to taste
  • 3 tablespoons light rum
  • 1 tablespoon freshly squeezed lime juice
  • Splash of seltzer, to taste
write for startup cuba

Muddle the mint leaves with a mortar and pestle and mix them with the sugar. Add the rum and lime juice and pour into a glass over ice. Add the seltzer and serve.

havana club mojito similar to the one at Bodeguita del Medio
Mojito in Cuba made with Havana Club rum. Photo: Cynthia Carris Alonso

(Note from El Equipo: You can find this recipe and others in the author’s cookbook, A Taste of Cuba.)

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Cynthia Carris Alonso is the author of two books about Cuba and has been photographing the island since 1992. She is a photographer, photo editor, and researcher and has worked for internationally-renowned magazines, books, and websites such as Time.com, ABCnews.com, Newsweek, BusinessWeek, The New York Times, Rhythm Music Magazine, People en Español, Scholastic and Vanity Fair. In 2016, Cynthia Carris Alonso covered President Obama's historic visit to Cuba, as the two countries continued working toward normalizing relations. With rare access to Cuba, Alonso has photographed Cuba's most famous musicians, covered news events and daily life of the Cuban people on assignment, and documented their unique and mysterious culture, people, passions and spirit of survival. Cynthia’s first photography book, Passage to Cuba, was published by Skyhorse Publishing in 2015. Her latest book, A Taste of Cuba (Apollo Publishers, 2018), celebrates the wonderful taste of Cuban cuisine, as well as the sites, colors, and energy of the Cuban culture. Alonso has given speeches about photography, journalism and Cuba. She has appeared on television and in the press, as a Cuba consultant giving interviews in both English and Spanish. Cynthia is married to Cuban writer José Luis Alonso, and they live in New York City with their daughter.

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