Mojitos are the national beverage of Cuba.
Wherever we dined, lunch and dinner, mojitos were offered like iced tea and lemonade on a summer day in New England.
Warning: they can make everything soft and fuzzy pretty quickly if seduced by their sweet, minty, goodness.
A mojito is comprised of rum, sugar and lots of mint…. or maybe lots of rum, sugar, and a little mint.
Cuba has a long history of producing some of the finest rum in the world.
Christopher Columbus, while he was busy circumnavigating the New World in 1493, introduced sugar cane to Colonial Cuba where it flourished, and continues to be second only to tourism, as their major source of revenue.
Centuries ago, it was discovered that by fermenting sugar, purifying it through charcoal, and aging it in oak barrels, a powerful spirit was produced, and they called it rum.
Ernest Hemingway was a famous afficiando of Cuban rum.
He lived in Cuba from 1939 – 1960 at Finca Vigia, Lookout Farm, a short distance from the city of Havana.
Our group, following in the path of many tourists before us, visited Finca Vigia.
Here, Hemingway wrote some of his most beloved novels: Old Man and the Sea, Island in the Stream, and the Movable Feast.
Look closely – the great author stood at the bookcase and, with typewriter raised on a book, spent his mornings in his study typing stories that we study, discuss and reread throughout our lives.
Every room is chock-a-block with books.
This is his man-cave in an adjunct building where he also liked to write…..
on this very petite Corona. Of course, we know he was a man of size….
Portraits and memorabilia abound in the house, preserved almost as if he’s just out deep sea fishing for the day.
Here is his favorite chair (on the left), with beverages on the side table.
His African trophies still adorn the walls. The rack is full of 1960 magazines.
And outside, dry-docked, is his beloved ‘Pilar’. Gives me a lump in my throat….
On my bedside table?
E.H.’s To Have and Have Not, Carlos Eire’s Waiting for Snow In Havana, and John Paul Rathbone’s The Sugar King of Havana.
Cuba lit a fire in me.