Monday 17 May 2010
One of my favourite ways or relaxing is with some friends enjoying good conversation and a champagne cocktail, positively my favourite alcoholic indulgence, that along with a pimms number one cup. But I do enjoy other cocktails and highballs. During my travels I always try the local speciality, and I've been fortunate to have been able to drink Bellinis in Harry's Bar in Venice, Manhattans in New York and Gin Slings in Raffle’s Hotel in Singapore.
When I was in Cuba I tried a mojhito, the local highball, which I did not like, and a frozen daiquiri, which I loved. The place to go, supposedly the place to go in Havana to enjoy these is the Floridita, a bar not too far from Parque Central right in the heart of the city, a place made famous by Ernest Hemingway. It's actually a terrible tourist trap, where the cocktails are dreadfully overpriced and not nearly as good as those I had in the less salubrious bars close to the waterfront.
Hemingway describes his daiquiri experience in Islands in the Stream, a novel published posthumously, one, at least in my estimation, that ranks high among the worst of his books. Still, this passage is wonderful;
He had drunk double frozen daiquiris, the great ones that Constante made, that had no taste of alcohol and felt, as you drank them, the way downhill glacier skiing feels running trough powder snow and, after the sixth or eighth, felt like downhill glacier skiing feels when you are running unroped.
I did not make it anyway near that number, but I'm a skier and I know exactly what he is trying to say, know exactly how the daiquiri captures at least a small taste of the downhill rush! If you decide to try one, and if you decide to go to Floridita, do ask for a Papa Double. It's better than the standard mix.
Before finishing I should say that there is one other cocktail I enjoy - the classic dry martini. I have my own martini glass and cocktail shaker in my rooms. When Ana is at her most decadent she is to be found relaxing in a deep bath with enough mixed for at least a couple during a long leisurely soak.