While the Floridita has its detractors, it is probably worth stopping in for a daiquiri just because it is there. It has certainly been around the block since it first opened its doors over 200 years ago and the bronze bust of Hemmingway drinking his customary daiquiri is testament to its most famous patron who once reportedly put 13 double daiquiris away in one sitting.
Opened in 1817 under the name Piña de Plata, later Florida in 1910 and El Floridita in 1914, this bar and restaurant became world-known thanks to author Ernest Hemingway, who was a regular costumer. The writer has ended up being the main attraction for tourists from all over the world, who visit “the cradle of daiquiri” and take their pictures either by the bronze bust sculpted in 1954 and placed in his favorite corner or by Papa’s life-size statue at the bar made in 2003.
The constant stream of tourists give it a limited appeal to Cubans or expatriates as a place to spend the entire evening and you will find cheaper drinks almost anywhere else. On the other hand, the bar tenders are very talented individuals who will have forgotten far more about the ins and outs of cocktails (and especially daiquiris) than most people would ever dream of knowing and the atmosphere is lively with good bands typically playing.
Dress warmly, for the air conditioning can be a little fierce.
Although there are many variants of the origin of the daiquiri I like to believe that it was invented in Eastern Cuba and perfected here at La Floridita by legendary barman Constantino Ribalaigua. His recipe; rum, limejuice, sugar, a couple of shakes of maraschino liquor and crushed ice.