Havana Club, an authentic Cuban rum reflecting the rich culture of the tiny island nation, recently hosted a masterclass and exclusive tasting session of the Havana Club range in Accra at the Little Havana Restaurant and Bar.
The Havana Club team visiting Ghana from Cuba, trained and educated nearly 50 local bartenders from the Bartender’s Guild of Ghana and mixologists from some of Ghana’s top restaurants and hospitality venues on the history and process of rum making and the art of carefully crafting cocktails with Havana Club, one of the world’s top rum brands.
“It is very exciting to have the team from Havana Club in Ghana for the first time to share the story of Havana Club while experiencing firsthand the many influences of Africa on Cuban identity including its food, music, religion, and drinks.
“It is a once in a lifetime experience to have Ghanaian bartenders and cocktail enthusiasts learn firsthand from experts such as Alfredo Guerra, the global brand ambassador for Havana Club and Pavel Fernandez, the Vice President of the Cuban Bartender’s Association,” says Jaen Bekker, Sales Manager for Pernod Ricard Ghana.
During the masterclass, participants were educated, trained and ultimately tested on their ability to create a unique classic rum cocktail with select ingredients. Two of the top ranked bartenders in attendance were selected as local Havana Club ambassadors.
These ambassadors will serve to promote the Havana Club brand in Ghana and will travel to Cuba to visit the Havana Club distillery, rum museum and meet with Maestros Roneros, the guardians of Cuba’s rum making tradition.
Both the masterclass and tasting session offered guests the opportunity to experience four flagship products of Havana Club Rum: Havana Club 3 Year Old, Havana Club 7 Year Old, Havana Club Anejos Especial, and the rare Havana Club 15 Year Old and to be educated about the brand’s rich history and purest Cuban traditional rum making process which includes a slow distillation of high-quality sugarcane carried out in columns designed especially for Havana Club.
The initial distillation produces a strong spirit with powerful aromas known as aguardiente which is then aged in white oak casks before being blended with a fresh sugarcane distillate to create “ron fresco” (‘fresh rum’) and finally left to age again before being blended to the finest rum. The entire Havana Club range is aged naturally, without any kind of artificial acceleration.
The Havana Club range features the Havana Club 3 Year Old which is a rum crafted for cocktails. It has a light, straw colour that reveals its age, every single drop was aged for a minimum of three years. The nose is a full bouquet of smooth aromas, with hints of oak, molasses and sugar cane.
The Havana Club 7 Year Old holds the tastes of the Cuban terroir: aromatic tobacco, the sweet tropical fruits of the Cuban garden, molasses, spices and vanilla from the long ageing unfold, enhanced by the slow release of aromas.
Another feature is the Havana Club Anejos Especial, which is a light sweetness and vanilla notes from double ageing complement hints of cinnamon, tobacco, orange peel and dry oak. This aromatic strength brings new depth to the original Cuban cocktail.
And the Havana Club 15 Year Old,a very rare and limited release of an extra aged rum. Only 58 barrels of this unique rum are selected each year.
“Cuban classic cocktails made with rum can be traced back to 1913 where Cuban bartenders created cocktails such as Mojitos and Daiquiris for their patrons including the famous American novelist, Ernest Hemingway. It is inspiring to now have Ghanaian bartenders, such as Johnson who placed 3rd at the Havana Club Grand Prix, one of Cuba’s oldest and most prestigious competitions for professional bartenders, contributing to the legacy of rum cocktails,” adds Bekker.
The Havana Club masterclass provided an opportunity to further develop the bartending community on the art, culture and appreciation of authentic Cuban rum. Little Havana restaurant will continue to serve as a local flagship venue to further promote the Havana Club brand and Cuban culture with a permanent selection of curated rum cocktails and Afro-Latino food on its menu and events highlighting art, music, cigars from Cuba and Latin-America.
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