By Nicole Schubert | January 9, 2019 | Food & Drink
A guided trip to Cuba—one that involves Havana Club Rum, Cuban Coffee Liqueur, and Ernest Hemingway’s personal favorite, the daiquiri. And here on the coasts of Miami—from downtown, Little Havana, to the beaches—we’re showing you how to celebrate the Cuban lifestyle, with all things liquid Havana, from the classic floridita daiquiri at Latin Café to the Café Mucho Gusto at Ball & Chain. So prepare to amp up your craft cocktail game and enter Havana’s rich high life with legendary libations, topped with two parts Miami heat and “abuela style” eats.
A signature serve—one that originated with Señora Bébo’s beloved Cuban coffee inside her secret underground club in Havana, Club Bébo. And now, over 50 years later, Cuban cocktail connoisseurs can remember this unassuming corner shop—with the liveliest music in town—and relive their delectably smooth pours at the iconic Ball & Chain nightclub in Little Havana. Crafted with the aromatic coffee liqueur, BÉBO, pioneered by Cuban transplant Peter Iglesias, and master distiller Myriam Hendrickx, this decadent spirit lends homage to the old country by owing respect to its star ingredient: coffee. Mixed with fresh espresso, vodka, and one bar spoon of fine sugar, Café Mucho Gusto will uncover your need to dance the night away as if you were posted up, at the notorious, Club Bébo. 1513 SW 8th St, (305) 643-7820, ballandchainmiami.com
El Floridita—the birthplace of the daiquiri and Ernest Hemingway’s favorite bar. Catering to tourists, writers, actors, and expats, this 200-year-old Havana stomping ground is home to the frozen aperitif we love and adore. And at Latin Café in Miami’s downtown Fidi district, mixologist Carla Rivera, who studied at the original El Floridita in Cuba, is serving up this authentic chilled sip her way, with Havana Club Claro Rum, lime juice, cane sugar and a dash of Maraschino Liquor. So if you’re like Hemingway and are looking for a spot to cool off from the heat, we recommend strolling down to Latin Café and nibbling on bacon wrapped maduros and mini fritas cubanos with an ice cold glass of their classic El Floridita frozen daiquiri. 1053 Brickell Plaza, (305) 646-1400, latincafe.com
A charming Coconut Grove eatery with a namesake for refined libations and worldly comfort food. Ariete, owned and operated by Chef Michael Betran, has been uping the ante on dynamic dishes since its inception in 2016. And with a revamped cocktail program, this trendy eating-house is kicking it up a notch once again with a new menu of inventive concoctions that righteously pay respect to Beltran’s Cuban roots and the island’s rich heritage. We recommend heading over for happy hour, available daily from 4 p.m. through 7 p.m., and indulging in the El Gallego, curated with saffron and lemon infused Havana Club rum, lemon, honey, and bitters for a daring and tantalizingly delicious swig. 3540 Main Hwy, (305) 640-5862, arietemiami.com
If you haven’t found the time to venture to Cuba yet, not to worry. This coming January, Cuba is coming to you with an old Havana inspired lounge, coined Socialista. Located on the lower floor of Cipriani’s downtown Miami outpost, this Caribbean playground, filled with colonial European influences and 20th century modernism including plantation style rattan furniture, rich velvets and French antiques, is scheduled to amp up Miami’s nightlife scene with a cocktail game that can’t be beat. The fourth location to open worldwide, imagined by Maggio Cipriani, Socialista is a photograph of the Havana high life the way bon vivant, pre-revolution Habaneros lived it. So prepare for romance, rhythm, and retro flavors of the Cuban socialite culture and mark down to order La Reina de Cuba made with vodka, watermelon, white Sambuca, and simple syrup. 465 Brickell Ave, (786) 329-4090, socialistalounge.com
A 5000 square foot Cuban café and bar, Café La Trova, donned by Julio Cabrera of Ball & Chain and Chef Michelle Bernstein, is preparing to show locals how to celebrate the Cuban lifestyle with the heritage, savors, and families that made it. Named after the Cuban music movement, born out of Santiago de Cuba, from bohemian musicians who wandered the streets with guitars in hand, revolutionizing popular sounds, Café La Trova is a haven for all things island culture, including a cantinero school to train budding mixologists about the Cuban cocktail culture. Opening this month, we recommend visiting this ultimate tropical club, and sipping on their La Chancleta made with yaguara cachaca ouro, ginger-honey syrup, and lime juice. 971 SW 8th St, (786) 615-4379, cafelatrova.com
Nothing says bonafide classic more than Havana Club Rum. And with a rum that’s inherently weaved into the isle of Cuba’s culture—from sugarcane to cantinero—it’s easy to see why this essential liquid has remained through time a representation of Cuban spirit. But what’s a rum cocktail without a rum old fashioned? At Byblos, a trending Mediterranean hot spot on the beach, spiked liquid lovers can test their taste buds on a timeless blend made modern, crafted with one three parts Old Forester Bourbon, Havana Club Rum, and house blended Turkish coffee. 1545 Collins Ave, (305) 508-5041, byblosmiami.com