The Tasting Panel magazine

May 2017

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60  /  the tasting panel  /  may 2017 COCKTAIL HISTORY C ocktail historian Derek Brown quoted Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca: "The only things that the United States has given to the world are skyscrapers, jazz and cocktails. That is all. And in Cuba, in our America, they make much better cocktails." Brown added that while he's not sure that is necessarily true, the two countries' cocktail destinies continue to be inextricably linked. Attendees discovered that fact and more at an event in late March 25, kicking off the National Archives Foundation's new series exploring the intersection of drinks and the history behind them. With cocktails courtesy of Caña Brava Rum, a classic Daiquiri—that deceptively difficult- to-master combination of rum, sugar and lime—was joined by a riff on the Rum and Coke from head bartender JP Fetherston of Drink Company. A syrup made with kola nut stood in for the Coca-Cola, and the overall effect was decidedly more complex and multi-layered. Guests migrated to the William G. McGowan Theater for a discussion moderated by Brown, a renowned bartender and writer who also serves as the National Archives Foundations' Chief Spirits Advisor. On the panel were Simon Ford, co-owner of The 86 Co.; Julio Cabrera, bartender at The Regent Cocktail Club in Miami; Phil Greene, author and co-founder of the Museum of the American Cocktail; and John Lermayer, owner of Sweet Liberty in Miami. Though many attribute Cuba's flourishing cocktail culture to the mass exodus of American bartenders to Havana during Prohibition, it's not quite that simple, Brown said. "Cuba has amazing drinking traditions and three of the world's most recognized drinks: the Daiquiri, Mojito and Rum and Coke," he pointed out. "Central to all of them is rum and sugarcane." Cuba was actu- ally late to the rum game, Ford noted. It wasn't until the English brought in slaves around 1760 that Cuba launched its rum industry, which grew after the introduction of the continuous still around 1820 and the Coffey still (intro- duced by Facundo Bacardi) in 1862. The latter allowed for the lighter rum that would emerge as Cuba's signature style (compared to the funkier spirits that come out of pot stills.) Ford said its drier style makes Cuban rum a no-brainer with cola—resulting in a drink, Brown joked, that seems so simple it's hard to imagine anyone inventing it. Add lime juice, however, and Cubans consider it a very different THE NATIONAL ARCHIVES FOUNDATION OFFERS A LOOK AT COCKTAILS AND CUBA by Kelly Magyarics, DW / photos by Pepe Gomez Simon Ford, co-owner of The 86 Spirits Company, and Julio Cabrera, face of the Cuban Cantinero move- ment in the United States, make a shaken Daiquiri at the tasting reception portion of "History Happy Hour: Cocktails in Cuba." Columbia Room bartend- ers make a shaken Daiquiri at the tasting reception portion of "History Happy Hour: Cocktails in Cuba" in the William G. McGowan Theater lobby on Saturday afternoon. #HistoryHappyHour

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