Clinton Cawood's latest investigations into modern classics takes him to Audrey Saunders' Old Cuban.
For a relatively recent addition to the cocktail canon, the Old Cuban certainly gives the impression of being from a bygone era – it’s even in the name.
But this modern-day classic was created only a couple decades ago, in 2001. It’s just one of Audrey Saunders’ contributions to cocktail lists around the world, created while working at Beacon restaurant in New York, ahead of opening Pegu Club in 2005.
It has all the hallmarks of a classic, new or old. It’s easily reproduced for one thing, with nothing particularly unusual among its ingredients of aged rum, mint, sugar syrup, lime juice, Angostura and champagne.
Presentation is straightforward too, served in a coupe with a mint leaf. If you’re thinking that sounds rather a lot like a Mojito, you’d be right. It adds a celebratory touch to that timeless drink by deftly borrowing from the French 75, and brings aged rum into the picture, perhaps taking some inspiration from the Sour too.
The Old Cuban made its debut at New York’s Bemelmans Bar, gaining international renown before taking its place on the list at Pegu Club. While that bar, regrettably, closed its doors in 2020, the drink, fortunately, remains.