The Rosa Blanca
What does it take to win the Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix? Well, among other things, a stellar drink that follows the guidelines set for the competition. In 2014, it was all about creating a new Cuban classic cocktail.
During the golden age of Cuban cocktails, the cantineros had to create recipes that would appeal to both tourists and habaneros. They came up with a solution: they used American drinks as a template and infused them with Cuban spirit. Slightly sweet, full of flavours, the cocktails of the 1920’s cantineros seduced both tourists and locals. And then, they conquered the world.
So when bartenders from all over the world travelled to Cuba two years ago (just like they’re about to do next week), they had to take a cue from the original cantineros if they were serious about winning the Grand Prix. Many fantastic cocktails were presented, but, as you already know, the jury decided that Andy Loudon, from Satan’s Whiskers in London, had created the new Cuban classic.
To do this, he kept in mind the lessons of yesterday’s cantineros, and updated them. “When I was creating my drink - he said- I thought about Cuban artworks. Everything there is vibrant, multi-layered, multifaceted”. His cocktail pays tribute to two icons of Cuban life: national hero José Marti, who died fighting for his country’s independence, and the Daiquiri. The Rosa Blanca (one of José Marti’s famous poems) takes the classic formula of Cuban light rum, sugar and fresh lime juice and lifts it up with three extra ingredients: dry sherry, pastis and cloves.
“It brings together all the experiences I had in Cuba, like the sea air on the Malecón or the spices”, added Andy. And indeed, the slight saltiness of the sherry and the pungent flavour of the clove make for an elegant drink, ideal for summer afternoons, whether you have a view on the Caribbean or the rooftops of your hometown.
The Rosa Blanca is very Cuban. Easy to reproduce yet multi-layered, it’s a seducing drink. This innovative take on the Daiquiri really is a new Cuban classic cocktail. Even though the 2016 Grand Prix will be different, maybe you should take a cue from Andy’s drink and engage with the cantinero’s’ work to come up with the perfect mix. From the Daiquiri to the Mojito and the Mulata, the Cuban cocktail was born out of fusion. And what a coincidence: fusion’s the theme of this year’s Grand Prix!
40 ml Havana Club Añejo 3 Años
15 ml Tio Pepe Sherry
2 ml Ricard 20 ml fresh lime juice
20 ml sugar syrup
Muddle the cloves in the bottom of the shaker. Add all ingredients, shake with ice and strain in a coupette. Serve with a straw.