GlasgowLiving was honoured to be invited along to Distill in Finnieston for the Havana Club Certification Programme.

Havana Club are recognising bars and clubs nationwide, who pride themselves on creating the finest authentic Cuban mojitos.


Distill in Finnieston, Havana Club cocktail officiated

Thankfully, our journalist in a previous life, worked in one of the more upmarket bars in the city centre, (seriously he never stops reminding the GlasgowLiving team.) Upon hearing that there was an invitation to attend a cocktail masterclass, there was no stopping him.

We’re not sure how widely known it is, but the origins of the Mojito began in Havana Cuba, and since then it has successfully became one of the most popular cocktails in the world.

Funnily enough the Daiquiri, also a firm summer favourite (especially a frozen version) was also created in Cuba, using very basic ingredients. (We were assured the frozen daiquiri was invented much later.)

The beauty of a mojito is that it bridges both gender gaps when it comes to cocktails, bold enough flavours to be considered masculine but at the same time sweet enough to be considered feminine. Equally loved by all.

It’s perfectly easy to enjoy a refreshing Cuban Mojito in your home, only ever needing five main ingredients, mint, lime, sugar and Havana Rum, and soda water.

On the night of the mojito launch in Distill, Havana Club’s Global Brand Ambassador, Meimi Sanchez challenged us to the 25 second mojito challenge. Prepare and complete the full cocktail in 25 seconds or less.

As previously mentioned our journalist used to work in a cocktail bar during his tumultuous years as a struggling student, so as you can imagine, the opportunity for him to show off his skills? He couldn’t resist it.

(Thankfully) His attempt did not go to plan, failing to complete the mojito within the 25 second allotted time.

When the cocktail was first invented hundreds of year ago, the Spanish considered mint to have mystical healing properties after legendary captain, Sir Francis Drake and his men, overcame certain death, by ingesting mint, while trapped at sea.

francis drake
Sir Francis Drake

The origins date back to 1600’s and a landing party ventured onto the Cuban coast to seek a cure for their scurvy, dysentery, and all manner of nasty diseases. They returned with mint, a primitive rum, lime and sugarcane, helping the men regain their health. Thus the Mojito was born.

Ernest Hemingway, one of greatest literary minds of all time, favoured both Mojito and Daiquiri cocktails whilst he spent time in Cuba. The two bars he was said to have frequented became famous for this elegant piece of prose, “my mojito in Bodeguita, my daiquiri in La Floridita.” It is alleged that he personally scribbled it on the bar wall and signed it.

In 2014 it was discovered that the mojito is now officially Britain’s most popular cocktail.

Havana have created the simple Mix, Muddle, Mix technique for all wannabe cocktail Cassandras and Casanovas.

Mix. Squeeze half a lime into high ball glass, add two spoonful of sugar and swirl until dissolved

Muddle. Take a few sprigs of mint and slap on hands to release aroma, muddle mint in glass using muddler, wooden spoon etc.

Mix. Fill the glass with ice, follow that up with four caps of Havana Club 3 and top with sparkling water and add straws (Garnish with a sprig of mint alongside the straws to add aroma to the drink.)

Havana Mojito tin

N.B Did you know? The reason for the mint beside the straws is to enhance the flavour of the drink. Your nose creates up to 80% per cent of any flavour in your mouth.

Many thanks to all the staff at Distill (for keeping the supplies flowing) and Meimi from Havana for her encyclopaedic knowledge of Havana Club and Cuban history.