Most bars have their own specialities, but there is a range which is fairly common to all. However, even the standard cocktails will taste different when made by different barmen, so don’t expect a mojito in Havana to be the same as a mojito in Varadero. Cocktails come in all colours and flavours, short or long, and some are even striped or multicoloured. All should be presented as a work of art by the barman, who has probably spent years at his training.
Cubanito A cubanito is a Cuban version of a Bloody Mary, with ice, lime juice, salt, Worcester sauce, chilli sauce, light dry rum and tomato juice. Note that tomato juice is not always available everywhere.
Daiquirí Ernest Hemingway special An Ernest Hemingway special is light dry rum, grapefruit juice, maraschino liqueur, lime and shaved ice, blended and served like a daiquirí.
Havana Special A Havana Special is pineapple juice, light dry rum, maraschino liqueur and ice, shaken and strained.
Mojito To make a mojito, put half a tablespoon of sugar, the juice of half a lime and some lightly crushed mint leaves in a tall glass. Stir and mix well, then add some soda water, ice cubes, 1½ oz light dry rum and top up with soda water. Serve with a garnish of mint leaves and, of course, a straw.
Mulata A mulata is lime juice, extra aged rum, crème de cacao and shaved ice, blended together and served in a champagne glass.
Piña colada The old favourite, piña colada, can be found anywhere: coconut liqueur, pineapple juice, light dry rum and shaved ice, all blended and served with a straw in a glass, a pineapple or a coconut, depending on which tropical paradise you are in.
Saoco Another old recipe best served in a coconut is a saoco, which is just rum, coconut milk and ice.
Zombie One to finish the day off, and maybe even yourself, is a zombie, a mixture of ice, lime juice, grenadine, pineapple juice, light dry rum, old gold rum and extra aged rum, garnished with fruit.