Barmen from all over the world give tribute to Daiquiri creator in Havana

Posted: 25-Jul-15 13:41

Last Friday barmen from Cuba, USA, Argentina, Canada and Puerto Rico all gave tribute to Constantino "Constante" Ribalaigua, the Catalan creator of the world-famous Daiquiri cocktail. The activity was part of the first "King of Daiquiri" international competition organised by the iconic Floridita Bar in Havana and the tribute, which included a toast in the name of Ribalaigua took place on his grave in Havana's Colon Cemetery.

Barmen from all over the world give tribute to Daiquiri creator in Havana

For the first time ever a special tribute was paid to the creator of the Daiquiri, one of Cuba’s most iconic drinks recognised the world over. After the culmination of the first edition of the “King of the Daiquiri” competition, an event organised by the legendary Floridita Bar in Old Havana, a special tribute was organised the next day to honour the person that immortalised the daiquiri; former Catalan owner of the Floridita Bar, Constantino “Constante” Ribalaigua.

For this, all contest participants, national and international, gathered on a Friday for a special commemorative occasion in Havana’s Columbus Cemetery (Cementerio Cristobal Colon de la Habana) where Ribalaigua is buried, with a ritual that ended with the preparation of Ribalaigua’s famous creation by U.S. barman John Christian Lermayer (on the photo above), who displayed his mixing skills right on the legendary bar owner’s grave.

The seventh edition of “Rey del Daiquiri” competition, which for the first time welcomed international participants, saw the crowning of Cuban barman Pedro Ivan Rodriguez from El Aljibe Restaurant, with second and third place also going to two Cuban contestants.

All 12 participants from Cuba, the U.S., Canada, Argentina and Puerto Rico had five minutes to prepare five drinks, two of which had to be one of Floridita’s traditional cocktails, chosen at random, and three following the classic recipe of the famous Daiquiri beverage, prepared with lemon juice, frappe ice and rum Havana Club 3 Años.

A visibly moved Lermayer, who received the Mencion de Honor in the competition, said of his experience:

"When talking to my friends I used to say: ‘Hey, maybe one day I’ll compete in El Floridita’. They told me: ‘You won’t’, but I just did, it’s just happened."

Other participants included thrice world champion Argentinian Christian Delpech, who received a special award to mark the occasion.

This year’s search for the Daiquiri King marked the star of the celebrations for the 200th anniversary of El Floridita, which opened in 1817 and has welcomed repeat guests like Ernest Hemingway, boxer Rocky Marciano, fashion icon Paco Rabanne and many other celebrities.

El Bar Floridita is the famous birthplace of Daiquiri, as well as other less famous but still popular Cuban cocktails like “Presidente” and “Papa Hemingway”, which is a variation of the classical Daiquiri recipe, and both also a creation of Constantino Ribalaigua, the “Father of Cuban cocktails” according to Cuban American participant Julio Alfredo Cabrera. “We came here inspired by him”, he declared.

Ariel Blanco, Managing Director of El Floridita told EFE:

"This edition has a special status. If the competition has taken on an international level that’s because of the prestige of the participating barmen, aside from the fact that on top of it all there’s the history of El Floridita, birthplace of not only the Daiquiri but many other international cocktails."

As world-famous novelist and American Noble Prize winner, Ernest Hemingway famously said during the time he resided in Havana:

"My Mojito in La Bodeguita, my Daiquiri in El Floridita"


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