More and more U.S. tourists are streaming into Cuba thanks to recently loosened restrictions on travel. And Pernod Ricard is making sure they won’t have to resort to actually finding out what Cubans drink. The company is expanding their line of available products on the island.
Instead of Mojitos and Cuba Libres picky tourists can sate themselves with Absolut Citron, Mandarin and Elyx, The Glenlivet 15 and 18 years, and the Royal Salute 21 years. These international spirits were featured at an exhibition last week at Sarao nightclub in Havana hosted by Havana Club International S.A., which is partially owned by Pernod Ricard.
Organizers stressed that selling a wider range of liquor from countries outside of the island will allow Cuban bars, restaurants and hotels to create quality cocktails beyond the traditional rum-based drinks that have dominated Cuba’s cocktail culture for generations. Cuba is preparing to meet the high standards of people who “know what they like to eat [and drink], and expect their standard of living [on vacation],” said José Rafa Malem, president of the Association of Bartenders of Cuba. As everyone knows, the whole point of travel is for everything to be exactly the same as it is at home.
Over a million cases of liquor were distributed by Pernod Ricard in Cuba last year, a 17 percent increase from the previous year. With tourism rapidly expanding in Cuba for the first time in decades, the firm expects those numbers to continue to skyrocket.