Cuba toasts the rum cocktail at Havana Club international competition

By Thomson Reuters Apr 18, 2024 | 12:32 PM

HAVANA (Reuters) – Cuba is famous for its rum cocktails and on Wednesday evening below Havana’s iconic Morro Castle, guarding its bay, 400 people gathered to toast its best-known rum, Havana Club, but not with Cuba libres, mojitos and daiquiris in hand.

The festivities marked the culmination of an international competition sponsored by the brand, a joint venture between Cuba Ron S.A. and Pernod Ricard, pitting the cocktail mixing skills of 600 bartenders against one another.

“The uniqueness of the event is that beyond promoting the individual creation of cocktails … it takes into account friendship and camaraderie,” said Havana Club’s global ambassador, Alfredo Guerra.

Alexandra Constantinescu from England said, “I think the most difficult thing is the time, to work under pressure.”

She was one of 16 finalists in eight teams attending the event and offering the guests a choice of original cocktails.

“We are coming from different countries, so the products we use have a different taste. The banana in England tastes different from the banana in Cuba, and all the cocktails were made and balanced here and that’s the most beautiful thing,” she said.

Constantinescu and her teammate did not win the grand prize for the world’s best Havana Club cocktail mixer, nor did teams from China, Spain, Brazil and other countries.

The team from Greece, made up of Danos Minoudis and Andreas Giaprakas walked away with the 10,000-euro ($10,700) prize.

($1 = 0.9390 euro)

(Reporting by Carlos Carrillo, Alien Fernández and Mario Fuentes; writing by Marc Frank; editing by Jonathan Oatis)