Escape to Cuba – a little preview…

Dear brother in the heat.

Take two of sour (lime let it be)

To one and a half of sweet,

Of Old Jamaica pour three strong,

And add four parts of weak.

Then mix and drink. I do no wrong —

I know whereof I speak.

This is the recipe of the welcome cocktail, Planters Punch, that you will receive should you be quick enough to get tickets for the next Prohibition Bristol organised event, ‘Escape to Cuba’.

How do I know this? Well I was one of the lucky ones to sample a selection of rum based cocktails this Monday (and somehow managed to get through the working day on Tuesday) to help them make the tricky decision of which cocktail from a list, wonderfully constructed by genius bar tenders at the Milk Thistle, should be the first one that people drink to get them in the Cuban spirit.

So… I found myself tucked up in a cosy chair in the Milk Thistle, being handed cocktail after cocktail with smackings of rum in. Tough life… It also meant that I finally met some of the other Bristol bloggers – so lovely putting faces to the Twitter handles ;-).

Each of the cocktails we tasted came with a bit of a story – the fab thing about the Milk Thistle is that the bar tenders seem to know absolutely everything about booze – so I’ll try and include as much as I can remember! Apologies – the memory may lapse a bit after cocktail three or four….

Big thanks to Ash at the Milk Thistle, who made us the following wonderful creations!

The cocktails

Cocktail No. 1. Rum Rickey: rum, lime juice, sugar, soda water.

Whilst The Great Gatsby may have drank a different version, a gin rickey, in Cuba it must have course be drank with rum. To me this was a slightly softer version of one of my faves, the caiprinha – with the soda water taking off a bit of the edge. 🙂

Rum Rickey cocktail in a tumbler with a slice of lime
Rum Rickey – channelling a bit of Great Gatsby

Cocktail No. 2. El Presidente: rum, dry vermouth, curacao and crème de mure.

A cocktail named after the former Cuban president Gerardo Machado, who once offered one to former US president Calvin Coolidge during the Prohibition era: he politely declined! Mad man!

One felt particularly sophisticated drinking out of the snazzy cocktail glass, apparently fashioned on the shape of Marie-Antionnette’s boob (great fact – don’t care if it’s not true!) A ‘stirred-down’ cocktail, this one takes a little more time for the flavours to work together into a perfect harmony, but it is worth the extra care and attention for the wonderous smooth flavours that result. The most delicious cherry was added as a little treat (that admittedly made the drink look a bit like a boob when you look at it from the top!) making this the running favourite for quite a while in the tasting.

Finished off with a quick flourish of the zest of an orange, the smell was intense from three people away!

El Presidente
The cherry was a little treat in the El Presidente

Cocktail No. 3. Papa Doble (Hemmingway Daiquiri): rum, lime juice, grapefruit juice, maraschino liquer.

As if Ernest Hemingway (nickname, Papa) was not already cool enough, he could also definitely hold his own in the drinking department if this cocktail was anything to go by! Created for him as he found the standard dacquiri too sweet, this is a sugar free version. Consequently it suits those with a liking for the more bitter drink options. Now, Hemingway used to drink doubles (over four shots of booze – phew) but our half measures smacked enough of a punch! Hemingway is rumoured to have once drank 16 in one session. I think I would be on the floor after three….

Decided to be too much of an acquired taste to be served to the masses, the El Presidente stayed the favourite at this point!

Papa Doble cocktail being held by the stem of the glass
Hemingway liked his drinks strong! The Papa Doble

Interim cocktail: the creation of the Cuban Club!!

At this point it was mentioned by Becky from @Bristol_Foodie that her favourite cocktail was the Clover Club. Within minutes, a rum based version was making its way around the group to try. Although absolutely delicious (and my favourite at that point) it wasn’t quite Cuban enough. Next step – pineapple syrup was substituted in for the previous raspberry. DELICIOUS!!! This will now be the signature cocktail on the menu for the evening and I will definitely be ordering at least two (you will then probably find me on the floor somewhere….)

The Cuban Club
The creation of the eve! DEEEELICIOUS!

Cocktail No. 4 Daiquiri: rum, lime juice, sugar.

If you are anything like me, you are more used to a sweet, slushy version of a daiquiri; probably a strawberry version? Well get these memories out of your head as a proper daiquiri appears to be very different! This is one of the oldest and simplest cocktails in the world and it has lasted for a reason: it is fantastic. This was one of my favourites (of many it seems), as the balance of sweet and bitter is so perfect! It probably helped that it was made by the hands of an expert; not sure if it would work out so well if I attempted to craft it in a boozy state at home…

Perfect balance of sweet and bitter – this classic daiquiri is pure pleasure to drink

Cocktail No. 5. Planters Punch: rum, orange juice, pineapple juice, curacao, bitters, grenadine.

OK, I have already spoilt the surprise of which one was the favourite…Sorry! I can tell you why though: the flavours just immediately made you think you were on holiday!! Amazing! Plus they have the most incredible punch bowls and ladels (I want one for our miniature bar at home) that need to be showed off!

Planters Punch served in a tumbler with slices of orange and lemon
And the winner is….

What you should know about the event…

Prohibition Bristol is a Bristol based events company, specialising in extravagant parties with a 20s twist – think the Great Gatsby! Their first event (the Valentine’s Day Massacre) was a fabulous success, so they are back with their next one, this time with a Cuban twist.

A Cuban theme might sound a bit random at first, so let me give you a little history (completely stolen from Prohibition Bristol  – Monday evening was an education, not just a drinking fest!) The 1920s may have been a tricky time for drinking alcohol for most; but in Cuba, the Prohibition was not in force! Bacardi cashed in on this by inviting people to ‘Escape to Cuba’ and get completely sozzled on Bacardi rum. You would even be greeted by a Mojito when you got off the plane – how great would that be?

The details…

Date: Friday 13th June

Venue: The Milk Thistle (I have checked I can reveal this…)

Price: £25 (including your welcome glass of punch!)

What to expect: a great selection of cabaret, burlesque, live music and DJs

Tickets are not on sale yet, but if you want to make sure you don’t miss out, sign up to their mailing list on the website:

Now….. I just have to work out what to wear to a Cuban/1920s theme!?!?!? Any ideas…?

Contact Details:

Twitter: @ProhibitionBris


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