Classic Cocktails


Mojito, pina colada and caipis have dominated summer cocktail menus for many years and although all can be incredibly great cocktails when prepared correctly, some bar mates roll their eyes at the weekend when the orders just won't let up.

The canchánchara has been in the shadows for a long time. Hardly anything fits better on a balmy summer night than a refreshingly fruity cocktail like a canchánchara. Here in this issue, I try to drag the Canchánchara out of obscurity and introduce you to the cocktail classic. Maybe it will become the new summer drink on your summer menu.

Many legends surround the Canchánchara. That is why it is almost impossible to give an exact history of its origins or even a name that can be attributed to this cocktail. You have to do a little more in-depth research to find something about this classic cocktail.

One of my researches revealed that this cocktail was created during the war between Spain and the Cuban guerrillas. It is thought that the cocktail may even have been drunk hot, like a hot toddy, to warm up after the chilly nights. At the same time, it is also said to have provided relief from the pain of wounded fighters.

Another investigation revealed that the Canchánchara cocktail developed over many years - like many other cocktails - and in its first form it may have been a drink that the field workers on the Caribbean sugar cane plantations used to make their energy-sapping day more bearable.

It is a simple mix of the ingredients that were available. In the early days, the alcoholic ingredient might not have much in common with the rum we know today. The rum or rum-like spirit was supplemented by the typical sour components, the acid from a citrus fruit, mainly the lime, and available sweeteners.

At the end of the day, the plantation worker will not have cared whether his canchánchara was made with honey or molasses.

Whether this was really honey or the ubiquitous molasses is debatable. At the end of the day, the plantation worker will not have cared whether his canchánchara was made with honey or molasses. Whether it was a fortifying drink for the field workers or for the guerrillas cannot be clearly proven today. But one thing remains certain: this cocktail belongs to Cuba like cigars and Che Guevara.

From a worker's drink to a drink for tie-wearers

The refreshing factor was also different. Ice is a fairly new feature on Caribbean islands. Of course, in the past, the ingredients were simply mixed and possibly a dash of water added to make the mixture drinkable. This mix was also often prepared in bottles and served as a short refreshment in between.

Fortunately, we are allowed to enjoy this variant of a sour chilled and on ice today and can consider ourselves lucky to be able to choose from a plethora of rums. Originally attributed to Cuba and recommended with Cuban rum, this cocktail is very open to variation. Almost any aromatic rum or rhum agricole makes an excellent base for this cocktail.

The aromatic sweetness of the honey supports the fine notes of different rums perfectly. It's like putting a suit on a rum. The suit makes everyone look good and for some it turns the have-not into a gentleman.

I think it's an excellent summer drink that looks good on any bar menu. It's also uncomplicated to prepare and serve, and the variation of the rum makes it a new experience every time.


6 clRum
3 BLHoney
2.5 clLime juice

Glass: Tumbler

Preparation: Stir all ingredients in a tumbler until the honey has dissolved. Add ice cubes and stir in.

Wakes the Tiger in You

5 clWhite rum infused Kaffir leaves
2 dashTequila
2.5 clVerjus
2 clNut butter honey

P&T (Pear & Truffle)

5 clWhite rum infused with a pear
1.5Lemon juice
1.5 clLime juice
3 BLTruffle honey

This article appeared in
Issue 3-2021

BAR NEWS magazine as single issue

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