Did Hemingway Really Drink Mojitos at La Bodeguita del Medio?

Travel Blog  •  Jim Benning  •  08.06.07 | 3:23 PM ET

imageDepending on your perspective, mojitos are either all the rage and part of “mint’s moment” or as dated as “Sex and the City” reruns. I polished off a too-sweet-for-my-taste mojito last night at San Diego’s Hotel del Coronado, as evidenced by this photo of my empty glass, mainly because the drink set me back $11 and I couldn’t stand the idea of wasting it. I like the occasional mojito, but I’ve been enjoying the mojito press coverage even more, and I particularly liked this piece in the Wall Street Journal focusing on Ernest Hemingway’s relationship—or lack thereof—with the drink. I thought it was a given that Hemingway tossed back mojitos at La Bodeguita del Medio in Havana. Tourists flock to the bar for that very reason.

And as Eric Felten points out in the Journal, Hemingway supposedly once wrote on butcher paper: “My mojito in La Bodeguita del Medio, my daiquiri in El Floridita.”

Not not only is there some doubt as to whether Hemingway visited La Bodeguita del Medio, but, writes Felten:

Beyond the question of whether Hemingway indulged a preference for Mojitos at La Bodeguita is an even more fundamental question—whether Papa drank Mojitos at all. Craig Boreth, author of “The Hemingway Cookbook,” doubts it. The novelist wasn’t fond of sugar in his drinks, Mr. Boreth argues, pointing to the unsweetened, frozen lime-and-grapefruit Daiquiris that were Hemingway’s favorite. The Mojito, by contrast, is nothing if not sweet.

So there you have it. If you’re in Havana, visit La Bodeguita del Medio if you like. But don’t assume you’re drinking with Hemingway’s ghost. That’s to be done at El Floridita.

Related on World Hum:
* World Hum’s New Seventh Wonder of the Shrinking Planet: The Irish Pub
* Trouble in Margaritaville: Is a Tequila Shortage Looming?

Photo by Jim Benning.

3 Comments for Did Hemingway Really Drink Mojitos at La Bodeguita del Medio?

Donald Montrose 01.10.08 | 3:15 PM ET

Forget about the mojito, the daiquiri, the Cuba libre (rum & coke with lime), and forget about La Bodeguita del Medio, El Floridita and the bar at the Ambos Mundo hotel where Hemingway lived and probably did most of his rum consumption. For the true Cuban experience meet some Habaneros, move in with them for a couple of weeks and buy a bottle of Havana Club rum at 7 or 8 bucks. Sit around and play dominoes and listen to the radio while sipping it neat. If you insist on it chilled, add a little ice but drink it before the ice melts and dilutes the product. Very soon your skill at dominoes will improve, the music will get you intoxicated, and bueno, all is well.

TrueGen 01.26.08 | 2:51 PM ET

For more information on Ernest Hemingway, visit Timeless Hemingway:


Climent 05.12.08 | 11:39 AM ET

I never tasted mojitos with mint. Next time I wish to have it at San Diego’s Hotel del Coronado.

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