Monday, April 29, 2013

The Old Cuban

It’s like a Mojito, only turned up to eleven!

This was the reaction I got from the first person I ever handed an Old Cuban. It’s not entirely incorrect.

At the famous Pegu Club in New York, Audrey Saunders forged a reputation for brilliance and cocktail program excellence that is hard to even contemplate matching. There is a reputation of exactness and consistency that is well earned - and this comes through in the excellence of this cocktail.

The recipe calls for aged rum, lime juice, mint, bitters, and champagne, and it is as brilliant as it appears inevitable. If the Mojito is a drink for beach parties, the Old Cuban is one for elegant soirees on your yacht.

Old Cuban
1 1/2 oz Aged Rum (Santa Teresa Claro)
3/4 oz Lime Juice
1 oz Simple Syrup
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
6 Mint Leaves

Add all but champagne to a shaker. Muddle mint. Shake with ice. Strain into chilled coupe glass and top with champagne.

In New York, Audrey and her crew make the Old Cuban with Bacardi 8. At 320 Main, we’ve gone with Santa Teresa Claro - a lightly aged rum from Venezuela that many people say is the closest rum you’ll find in the US to Havana Club from Cuba. Pegu Club also garnishes with a sugar-coated vanilla bean whereas we opted for a simple mint leaf.

Refined and refreshing at the same time, the Old Cuban takes the Mojito’s combination of tart, sweet, and effervescence and adds character through the age of the rum, the complexity of the bitters, and the style of champagne.

Matt “RumDood” Robold is a bartender at 320 Main and, in his spare time runs, where he writes about rum, rum cocktails, and rum history.

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