The last time I was in Havana (he said, casually, as if I popped out there only all the time), I dropped into the (real and original) La Floridita and met its Head Barman Danel Gonzalez Hernandez. There followed a most enjoyable afternoon in the pleasant company of Mojitos, Margeuritas and Cubanitos.
Ever since then - and ‘though I’ve tried - I’ve never been able to make a Cubanito in anything approaching the light of Danel’s Cubanito despite constant practice (which doesn’t make perfect in this case).
I was therefore delighted to get the chance to quiz him again when I bumped into him in Solas on Camden Street in Dublin recently. And why was he there, some way away from the sunny streets of the Cuban capital?
Well, five Havana Club Master Classes recently took place here in three Dublin venues:
Café en Seine, La Floridita and in Solas. Fortunately for me, Danel was one of those helping run these Cuban Master Classes.
Over 150 top bartenders - mostly from Dublin key accounts - attended the training sessions to learn more about the fast-growing profile of Havana Club Rum.
The Cuban Master Class team trained and educated attendees in the history, production and “culto de la vida” of Havana Club.
Apart from Danel, the other team members comprised Ramses Villar - Havana Club Brand Ambassador, Miguel Angel Diaz Vargas – Assistant Brand Ambassador and Damián Michel Domingues Perez - Barman promoter for Havana Club.
An interactive cocktail training session followed the presentation.
Havana Club International SA recently announced that Havana Club rum has surpassed the three million (nine-litre) case sales mark – a 15 per cent increase year-on-year . The impressive figures should now see the brand enter the Impact Top 30 and ensure it’s firmly on track to achieve its ambition of five million nine litre cases by 2013.
Between now and then, I might learn to make the perfect Cubanito….