from sfgate.com

This week our bartender, The Professor, bumps into a guy who’s somewhat of a legend among cocktailians, and they discuss a couple of drinks created at one of Ernest Hemingway’s favorite Cuban bars.

The Professor was not in a good mood. He’s in at 6 in the morning because the boss turned the whole joint over to a movie company for the day. Naturally,

The Professor was assigned to supervise.

Lights and wires have been strung all over the place, and now, some 12 hours later, the crew is just starting to call it a day. There wasn’t a penny in the tip cup.

“Don’t suppose there’s a chance of getting a Floridita Daiquiri to help me wind down, is there?”

The crew member at the bar has The Professor’s full attention.

“You talking about the one with maraschino liqueur?”

“Yep. Do you need the recipe?”

The Professor shot him a look. “Straight up or frozen?”

Little did The Professor know that he was in the presence of Dr. Cocktail, a graphic designer in the movie business who studies the history of cocktails and mixed drinks as a hobby.

Dr. Cocktail requests it straight-up, and watches as The Professor assembles the drink.

It’s key to use a white rum in a Floridita Daiquiri — aged products such as amber or anejo rums aren’t usually sharp enough for the drink — but not just any old white rum was going to suffice for this obviously fussy guy waiting patiently at the mahogany.

The Professor peruses the rum bottles on the back bar.

“Best white rums in this joint are the Appleton White, Rhum Barbancourt Traditional or the Brugal White Label. What’ll it be?”

“Your choice, Professor.”

Our bartender pauses. How did this guy know his nickname? He reaches for the Appleton bottle. All three of these rums have lots of character and texture — they aren’t merely peppery versions of vodka like some of the less expensive bottlings — but The Professor has had a soft spot for Appleton ever since he visited Jamaica.

Adding some fresh lime juice, simple syrup and a bit of maraschino liqueur to the rum and ice in his shaker, The Professor shakes and strains the drink into an ice-cold cocktail glass. Serving the drink, The Professor asks, “You ever been to the Floridita bar in Havana?”

“No, I never got the chance. It was known as La Florida back in 1930; I have their recipe booklet from that year. It was Hemingway’s favorite haunt unless he wanted a Mojito.”

“That’s right,” The Professor says. “He went over to La Bodeguita for those.

 

Wait a minute — movies, mixed drinks — are you Dr. Cocktail by any chance?”

“Some call me that. And you, sir, are quite obviously The Professor I’ve heard about.”

The Professor was a happy man again. He’d heard of Dr. Cocktail, but had never met the man. Dr. Cocktail has a reputation for being free with his information, so our bartender takes the opportunity to pick his brain.

“What do you know about the Floridita Cocktail, the one with sweet vermouth?”

“It’s a different drink entirely, but not without merit, and not without one slight similarity, too. The maraschino in the Daiquiri you just made is barely detectable, but the almond nuttiness of the liqueur is there all the same, just as it should be. In the Floridita Cocktail it’s the chocolate notes of creme de cacao that lurk in the background. They’re both astonishingly subtle drinks.”

The Professor shook up a Floridita Cocktail, and handed it to the doctor. He got a kick out of the satisfied grin that appeared on the doc’s face after his first sip.

“I didn’t spot a single star here today; who’s in this flick?”

“She’s not in this scene, but would you believe Mariel Hemingway?”


EL FLORIDITA NO. 1 INGREDIENTS: 2 ounces light rum

 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice

1/2 ounce simple syrup

1/4 ounce maraschino liqueur

INSTRUCTIONS: Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Serves 1

PER SERVING: 195 calories, 0 protein, 15 g carbohydrate, 0 f, 0 cholesterol, 18 mg sodium, 0 fiber. . EL FLORIDITA NO. 2

INGREDIENTS: 1 1/2 ounces light rum

1/2 ounce sweet vermouth

1/2 ounce fresh lime juice

1/4 ounce white creme de cacao

Grenadine to taste

INSTRUCTIONS: Shake and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.

Serves 1

PER SERVING: 150 calories, 0 protein, 6 g carbohydrate, 0 fat, 0 cholesterol, 2 mg sodium, 0 fiber.

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