Julio Cabrera Goes to Cuba, Makes Hemingway Special at Constante's Grave

When you woke up this morning, you probably didn't think you'd get the opportunity to visit Cuba and tour rum distilleries.

Neither did Julio Cabrera. But he recently got the chance to do so and he's got the pictures to prove it.

The Miami mixologist, most recently from the late Sra. Martinez, had quite the experience touring Havana, Cuba -- but what might have been one of the most memorable parts of his trip was sitting on the steps of Ernest Hemingway's favorite bartender's gravesite, shaking a drink and basking in the pure awesomeness of it all.

Constantino "Constante" Ribalaigua owned renowned bar, El Floridita, from his early years and because it was just a short walk from one of Hemingway's residences, it wasn't odd to see the writer frequent the bar for his favorite daiquiri.

"We did something that was never done before," recalls Cabrera of the experience. "A toast honoring Constante Ribalaigua, Hemingway's bartender at Floridita Bar and one of the greatest of all time."

He and a group of eight others (including chef Alberto Cabrera, formerly of The Local) made time to visit Constante's gravesite in Cemeterio Colon Havana.

Naturally, drinks were in order.

Out came the shakers, rum, and limes.

"Visiting the gravesite at the cemetery was a surreal experience," says Robert Burr, the rum connoisseur behind Rob's Rum Guide who also joined Cabrera to Cuba. "Amongst many ornate and majestic plots, his is a respectful and beautiful mausoleum -- a tribute to his honored place in Cuban cocktail culture."

Cabrera did manage to get snapshots of the inside of Constante's mausoleum which include old photos, icons, and vases with flowers. Lest the death factor play a role in a bunch of booze-loving men having the time of their lives.

What better way to celebrate life than with a drink, after all?

Follow Alex on Twitter @ARodWrites.

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