Sunday, September 19, 2021

El Floridita - How to make an El Presidente, a Cuban drink with a rich history: DIPLOMÁTICO PLANAS CRANBERRY MOJITO

“Don’t bother with churches, government buildings or city squares. If you want to know about a culture, spend a night in its bars.”

 Ernest Hemingway

The best way to find out if you can trust somebody is to trust them.”

One of the biggest heroes of the 20th century was the famous writer, outdoorsman, fisherman, decorated World War I veteran, and companion to the rich and famous, Ernest Hemingway. He was a hero to many, before we learned to see him through a different set of lenses; before we realized the personal price such people pay.

Exploring the rivers and streams of Hemingway’s youth

Life for most of the people in today’s world is much easier than it was years before because of more sophisticated and much faster automation, transportation, communication, and information. Survival today is easy and instant yet plenty of people comparing the life today and what it was before complaining about uneasiness and anxiety and feel that the life of today has resulted in disconnectedness from nature. In the past, people had a much greater opportunity to explore nature and to be outdoors more often and for longer periods than today. Writers across the ages and regions have been promoting the healing power of nature. They believe that nature can improve health and mind. Nature’s company improves the feeling of wellbeing and raises levels of happiness and energy. This paper, therefore, analyzes various objects of Nature described in Hemingway’s short story found helpful in recuperation and recollection of mental health. The paper concludes that Nature has a healing power for the people suffering from experiences as bitter as World War I because it allows us to explore our own feelings without the meddling interference of other people and lets a person ease back into a simpler life that has been missing.

Recuperative Power of Nature and Recollection: Analysis of 'Big Two-Hearted River' by Ernest Hemingway

Big Two-Hearted Cold War River

Hemingway's introduction to Ribalaigua and El Floridita was more unintentional. In an interview with NPR, Hilary Hemingway, Ernest Hemingway's niece, explains: "In the early 1930s, Hemingway went into the Floridita to use the restroom one day. People in the bar were bragging about the daiquiris that were being served there. So he ordered one and took a sip. Ernest asked for another one, this time with 'less sugar and more rum.' And that's how the Papa Doble, or the Hemingway Daiquiri, was born."

The Cocktail King Of Cuba: The Man Who Invented Hemingway's Favorite Daiquiri

Legend has it that one of our favorite cocktails, the Hemingway Daiquiri, was dreamt up in a bar in Havana. Ernest Hemingway, World War I volunteer, writer, boozer, fisherman, and celebrated bon vivant, nipped into La Floridita sometime in the 1930s to answer nature’s call. He noticed that patrons were bragging about the fantastic daiquiris being served. So he ordered one and took a sip. Never a man of meager appetites, he then ordered another. And another. As he had a hereditary aversion to sugar and death by diabetes, he asked for these to be made with no sugar—and double the amount of rum. 

  • 2 oz. Boukman Botanical Haitian Rhum
  • 1 oz. fresh grapefruit juice
  • 1/4 oz. fresh lime juice
  • 1/2 oz. simple syrup
  • 1/2 oz. Bordiga maraschino liqueur


According to cocktail historian David Wondrich's "Imbibe!", the original recipe by legendary bartender Constantino "Constante" Ribalaigua, of Havana's Bar La Florida (El Floridita), was published in 1915 in "an impossibly rare little volume" written by John B. Escalante and lifted up from the archives by French cocktail historian Fernando Castellon: 1 part Bacardí rum, 2 parts vermouth de Chambéry, 1 barspoon curaçao, 1/2 barspoon grenadine and a few dashes of Angostura bitters. 

By the 1930s, Constante — "the Cocktail King of Cuba" who invented Hemingway's daiquiri — had tweaked the recipe to call for equal parts rum and vermouth, and lost the grenadine and bitters. (To that, I and other maximalists say, why not both?)

Some contemporary recipes call for a greater proportion of rum and lesser, equal parts curaçao and vermouth, while some stair-step it (mostly rum, less vermouth, even less orange); some omit or change the bitters; and some go heavy on the rum with a whisper of everything else. 

When I'm mixing this drink at home, I prefer the balanced proportions of rum and vermouth, with a touch of curaçao, a lighter touch of grenadine and a dash of chocolate bitters to finish.

How to make an El Presidente, a Cuban drink with a rich history

Despite her marriage to an Australian journalist, she had several affairs. Her lover, Irwin Shaw, suggested she had a “deft tricky way with men.”  This was his way of explaining Mary’s success in an occupation previously reserved for men.

Despite serious doubts, Mary eventually succumbed to his amorous entreaties and married him. Their stormy relationship lasted fifteen years until his suicide in 1961. It was Hemingway’s longest marriage. Mary survived him for twenty-five years and enjoyed being Hemingway’s widow, for his celebrity continued to cast a glow upon her. Upon his death, she became wealthy, as his sole heir, and powerful, as his literary executrix, enjoying exclusive control over his published and unpublished works. In addition, Mary saved his manuscripts from Cuba, vigorously promoted and defended Hemingway’s reputation, and published one-third of his work posthumously.

Hemingway's Widow