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The classic mix is three tablespoons
of gin, juice of half a large lemon, a teaspoon of sugar, and top it up with
soda water. Serve it with a slice of lemon and enjoy.
Mark Kingwell insists that you not
fiddle with a Tom Collins mix — too sweet. But I don’t know. Every time I try
it, it reminds me of sipping out of my mom’s cocktail glass when we gals were
all decked out in pouffy party dresses back in Edmonton.
We went to Cuba a few years ago and, yes, we made the
obligatory stop at El Floridita, the Havana bar Ernest Hemingway graced so
regularly. But it was so depressingly velvety inside that we fled gratefully
back into the glare of the mid-day sun as quickly as we could. Oh well.
The drink that “Papa” made so famous
in Cuba was not the mojito (the classic: four parts light rum, two parts fresh
lime juice, a teaspoon of sugar, five or six bruised fresh mint leaves, and a
dash of Angostura bitters). Regardless, we had one at a state-run hotel, and
the mint was so dirty it made the drink murky.
But not to disparage Cuban drinks,
the finest of which I think is a good, golden 25-year-old rum simply served
neat. And the second finest? An authentic daiquiri. Hemingway would agree.
Sorry, but modern daiquiris, and 99
per cent of margaritas for that matter, just don’t cut it, made as they are from
the slushy concoctions that are close cousins to 7-Eleven Slurpees. The real
daiquiri is white rum and fresh citrus juice. That’s it. The “Papa Doble” —
Hemingway’s famous double daiquiri, in Spanish — was eight parts Bacardi white
rum, the juice of two limes and half a grapefruit, and two dashes of maraschino
liqueur. Legend has it that he downed 16 of them in one sitting at El
Glenda Bartosh is an award-winning
freelance writer with a half-finished bottle of crème de cassis straight from
Dijon in her cupboard right now.