If Cuba was a drink, it would be a mojito. If it was a dance, it would be the salsa. And if it were a smell, it would be the waft of cigar smoke curling up around your lips. Never has the term "a feast for the senses" been more true, and we can't wait to take you under the beating heart of this fascinating country.
Here's our recipe for the perfect pitcher of mojito:
- 10 limes, fresh pulp and juice
- 30 leaves fresh mint
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1 cup white rum
- club soda, chilled
1. Place lime juice, mint and sugar into a pitcher
2. Using a muddle stick mash to release mint oils, and dissolve sugar into juice
3. Add rum and lots of ice topped with club soda. Adding more club soda to glasses if a lighter drink is desired
4. Garnish with fresh mint and lime
And here's how you dance the salsa:
- 1. Step forward with your left foot
- 2. Shift your weight back from your left foot to your right
- 3. Step or slide your left foot back and bring it next to your right foot
- 4 Take a pause for the next beat
- 5 Repeat step one, but backwards
- 6 Step on the spot with your left foot (not moving either of your feet)
- 7 Step or slide your right foot up to meet your left, balancing on both feet equally
- 8 Take a pause for the next beat
- 9 Repeat
For the ladies:
1 Step backwards with your right foot2 Step in place with your left
3 Bring your right foot up to meet your left
4 Take a pause for the next beat
5 Step forwards with your left foot6 Step on the spot with your right (not moving either of your feet)
7 Bring your left foot next to your right
8 Take a pause for the next beat
How to choose the right cigar:
Not all cigars are made equally. The ones behind the counter at the local milkbar will be machine-rolled and probably not very good. Head to a tobacconist, where you'll find cigars properly stored and displayed in a humidor (a large cabinet with glass doors or perhaps an actual room). Don’t go for a full-strength cigar straight away. Stick with mild or medium-bodied until you know what you're doing.
Prepare the cigar:
Make sure the cigar it's properly cut. A cigar cutter works best, but to save money or if you don't have one, use any kind of blade. Make sure it's a clean cut, with no jagged edges because these can lead to uneven burning. One way to cut a cigar is to simply to bite the tip off, but this is mostly only ever done in movies!
Lighting the cigar:
Most important thing to remember, it’s not like a cigarette. So don't light it like a cigarette. See if you can find find a wood match or butane lighter, because other sorts of flames will change the way the cigar tastes. Warm the tobacco by holding the flame under the end, and rotating it a few times. Then hold the flame in front of the cigar without touching it. You can blow on the end to make sure everything is burning evenly.
Hold the cigar up to your mouth and hold the smoke in for a few seconds to taste it. Then exhale. It's usually not a good idea to inhale cigar smoke.
So there you have our recipe for Cuba!
Win your way to Cuba!