Cocktail Workshop at Cubana, Smithfield
After learning about Cuban food, it was time to get involved in making some authentic Cuban Mojitos and Daiquiri's. The Managing Director of Cubana Phillip Oppenheim and team member Alex held a very fun and highly informative workshop on how to make Cubana's Signature Mojitos and Frozen Daiquiris. We were taught the importance of using fresh ingredients in Cuban food and drinks and Phillip explained which particular products we should use and why when making our own authentic Mojitos and Daiquiris at home.
Phillip really pressed the importance of using non-industrial Rum and explained why they specially import a favourite Cuban brand named Ron Caney that comes from the tropical south of Cuba. Rum, he explained is made from molasses extracted from harvested sugarcane and the distilled clear liquid is then aged in oak barrels. The length and process of ageing determines the colour of the rum.
At Cubana, we made cocktails with three types of Rum: Blanco (light, soft, flavoursome and perfect for cocktails) Oro (golden rum created from a mixture of aged rums of about three to five years) and Añejo 12 Anni (aged at least twelve years producing a smoothness from woody aromas as well as hints of coffee and cocoa).
SIGNATURE MOJITO RECIPE
- One flat tablespoon of golden sugar or raw sugar (doesn't have to be organic)The yellowish colouring of natural sugar means that the molasses are still present.
- 25ml of fresh lime juice (never cordial or pre-bought lime juice)
- Fresh mint
- 50ml of White Rum
- Soda Water
- A couple of ice cubes
- Add one flat tablespoon of golden sugar to a glass.
- Add 25ml of fresh lime juice. (They squeeze their limes in bulk at Cubana and Phillip advised never to squash the lime, you just want to get the juice out.)
- Add some fresh mint sprigs - you only need a couple of sprigs in the glass. Never take the leaves off and there's not need to fill the glass; around 3 or four sprigs is fine.
- Muddle (press it down) with a spoon, you don't need special equipment for this.
- Add around 50ml of white rum - just under two measures between 45-47ml is the perfect amount.
- Fill the glass about 3/4 of the way with some soda water
- Top with ice - In Cuba, when crushed ice wasn't invented they used to knock lumps off to put in their mojitos. Crushed ice is not a good idea because it melts too quickly. Phillip advised that you should always use block ice as it cools the drink down without the ice melting too fast.
- Decorate with a sprig of mint and lime!
* This mojito recipe is also great with ginger, mango, chilli, passionfruit, strawberries and you can also use ginger ale instead of soda water too.
FRESH FROZEN FRUIT DAQUIRI RECIPE
There are typically three types of Daiquiri: a frozen one, a smoothie based one or a shaken one. At Cubana, they do a fantastic Frozen Lime Daiquiri made with fresh tropical fruits, lime juice, ice, some natural fruit syrup and rum.
Ingredients for a blender of Daiquiris:
- Tropical fruits of your choice can be used in a daiquiri; some great choices are strawberry, guava, mango, passionfruit, chopped.
- Fresh lime juice
- 75ml of lime juice (you need about one tenth filled of the blender)
- 10 measures of white rum (about 250ml) per glass it's about 37ml of rum (a measure and a half)
- Optional natural fruit syrup for a punch
- Place chopped fruit of choice in the blender
- Fill the blender with half fruit, half ice
- Add about one tenth of the freshly squeezed lime juice into the blender
- Add 10 measures of White Rum
- Top with an orange liqueur or a natural fruit syrup
- Blend and then serve out into glasses
Left above: Me making some Signature Mojitos with Phillip and Alex. Right above: Phillip talking about the distinct flavour of Ron Caney Añejo 12 Anni Rum
This was another excellent event hosted by Cubana and was a perfect combination with the food tasting earlier that they hosted earlier in the day. Cubana really focus on freshly sourced and 100% Cuban ingredients in their drinks. The Caney Rum they use in all their drinks is specially imported from Cuba and is not available to buy in shops, making the Cubana experience a very unique and authentically Cuban one.
The difference between Industrial rum such as Havana that a lot of bars use today and the imported Souther Cuban Ron Caney rum was certainly noticeable in the sharpness of its taste and its purity. Phillip's extensive knowledge of Cuban cuisine and the products he has chosen to use stems from his love for Cuba's rich history and culture. I really believe that knowing where your ingredients come from is so important and I was really impressed by the amount of precision and attention Phillip has given to the sourcing and preparation of his work. I learnt so much from this event and now know how to make some truly authentic Cuban drinks!
Thank you so much to Phillip, Alex and the team at Cubana Smithfield for hosting this event.
To find our more about these tasting events at Cubana Bar and Restaurant in Smithfield: