The Havana Club International Cocktail Grand Prix

Cuban classic cocktails have been and still are the finest global ambassadors of modern cocktail making. Combining the best elements of classic Spanish bartending, a vibrant multi-cultural heritage, and exotic Caribbean flavours. Not many drink categories can claim to be at once accessible, timeless, and ultimately adaptable.

2014 Havana Club Grand Prix curator, Anistatia Miller

The Havana Club International Cocktail Grand Prix is an international bartending competition that began in 1996. Since then the competition has taken place every two years in Havana, Cuba, cocktail capital of the world. The Grand Prix is organized by Havana Club International, with the support of the Asociación de Cantineros de Cuba.

The competition’s reputation has grown over the years, becoming one of the most important and prestigious competitions for bartenders all over the world, drawing in top talent from over 30 different countries. After pre-qualifying in national competitions, the finalists gather in Havana for the final stage of the competition.

2014 will see the introduction of the Cantineros Jam Session, which will see the competitors being judged by their Cuban peers with the intention of making the competition more inclusive for Cuban cantineros.

The Rules

Competitors are permitted to bring their own barware and tools. Each competitor has 10 minutes to prepare three original cocktails. The first cocktail must use Havana Club rum as its base and the second must use Havana Añejo 7 Años. The third cocktail must be a reinvention of a classic Cuban rum cocktail. While preparing their drinks the participants must be able to hold a conversation and multi-task.

The bartenders are judged out of 250 points: 150 points for the three cocktails based on the appearance, aroma, taste, finish and balance of the drink, and another possible 100 points for the technical skill, knowledge, innovative thinking, creativity, communication skills and overall image of the bartender. The final three competitors have 15 minutes to prepare the same three drinks, plus an additional drink that will test their creativity using secret ingredients given to them at the last minute.

  • Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope

    Terry Fox’s Marathon of Hope  LH 5

    The Terry Fox Marathon of Hope takes place in Havana and all across the country, starting at 9am. This has the greatest participation of any country in the world with up to 2.3 million people running, …

    III Harley Davidson Rally (Encuentro Harlista!)

    III Harley Davidson Rally (Encuentro Harlista!)  LH 5

    This past weekend, I was thrust into one of Cuba’s most prismatic and emblematic subcultures and scenes: I rode along on the country’s first Harley rally, when over 50 riders made their way to Varader …

    2012 Arte y Moda Fashion show: Extreme style

    2012 Arte y Moda Fashion show: Extreme style  LH 5

    Habaneros are a special lot. Guilty of multiple crimes of fashion and poor taste from the yonky to the most outrageous lycra outfits and ridiculously short skirts, they manage even in the midst of eco …

    VII Jornada Cubana contra la Homofobia (IDAHO)

    VII Jornada Cubana contra la Homofobia (IDAHO)  LH 5

    From May 5 to May 24, Cuba will celebrate the 7th Jornada Cubana contra la Homofobia in Havana, Granma and other locations in Cuba. The two-week event included symposiums, lectures, films, art exhibit …

    Highlights of the 2012 Havana Art Biennial

    Highlights of the 2012 Havana Art Biennial  LH 5

    The 11th Havana Biennial is already under way and for those of us who have attended its exhibitions, installations and performances so far, it is a time of evocation and strong emotions triggered by t …

    2014 Serie Nacional de Béisbol Play-offs

    2014 Serie Nacional de Béisbol Play-offs  LH 5

    Simplicity is the key word for baseball in Cuba, with no luxury boxes, huge electronic scoreboards or celebrity baseball players. As in many things in Cuba, there is no shortage of passion and this se …

    Marabana—The 2012 Havana Marathon

    Marabana—The 2012 Havana Marathon  LH 5

    Marabana is Havana’s annual marathon. Typically an exercise for me in making resolutions to get fit and participate in the race the next year, or a reminder that last’s year’s resolution is now forfei …

    Cubadisco: Cuba’s premier music awards show

    Cubadisco: Cuba’s premier music awards show  LH 5

    Nothing to do with discotheques, the International Cubadisco Fair begun in 1997 as a way to bring to national and international attention what the Cuban recording industry has been up to. It includes …

    1st Havana World Music Festival

    1st Havana World Music Festival  LH 5

    Organized by a nonprofit group led by young Cuban singer and composer Eme Alfonso, the 1st Havana World Music Festival (February 7-8, 2014) sought to open a window from Cuba onto the world and from th …

    The Marabana – Run Charlie run

    The Marabana – Run Charlie run  LH 5

    Race experience (Nov 2010) It is dark outside, 5.30am. Wishful thinking that I could simply sleep in and let the Havana marathon wait another year. I have, after all, been signed in various times over …

    1 of 8 pages »