How to Make the Airmail Cocktail, or celebrating the state of US-Cuba relations

The Airmail CocktailThe news of improved relations between the USA and Cuba was one of the best and most unexpected presents I got this holiday season.  As a fan of both rum and cigars, the idea that getting Cuban products in the states would soon be legally possible was cause indeed for celebration.  And what better way to celebrate than with a signature cocktail from when Bacardi was a great rum?  Back when it was Cuban!

The Airmail
  • 2 ounces Gold (Cuban) Rum
  • 5 ounces Sparkling Wine
  • 1 ounce 1:1 honey syrup
  • 1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
  • garnish with a lime wedge

Begin by shaking the gold rum, honey syrup, and lime juice with ice until the shaker is frosty.  Choose your glass (a collins glass is recommended) and pour the mixture unstrained into the glass.  Then top off with 5 ounces of your favorite sparkling wine and garnish with a lime wedge.  It’s that simple, you’ve got Airmail!  Far faster than the postal service has ever delivered any letter.  For the gold rum, still not being able use Cuban rum legally, I have found that both Bacardi 8 Años and Appleton Estate work quite well.  At a lower price point, Castillo or Cruzan gold rum will also do the trick, albeit with a bit less flavor and flourish.  The honey you choose is of paramount importance – too strong and that is all you will taste in the cocktail, too light and you might as well not add it at all.  I would recommend going with a floral honey to compliment and counterbalance the citrus.  As for the sparkling wine, Chandon Brut Classic is an excellent choice, as are many proseccos and cavas.  Save the true champagne and its hefty price tag for toasts – in most cases you are going to be paying a premium just for the label and when not, the flavors are best experienced standing on their own.

This cocktail became famous from its appearance in early pamphlets advertising Bacardi and at its heart is a classed up version of a daiquiri, subbing in honey syrup for simple syrup and adding sparkling wine for a bit of fizz.  The exact origin of the cocktail is a mystery as it may have been invented by Bacardi for their advertising campaign or have been a special cocktail produced at one of Havanas many fine bars.  Either way, it is a delicious drink for any season and the sparkling wine will make you feel like celebrating!


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Posted in Rum, Sparkling Wine

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Nick McAfee
Nick McAfee is a student of Princeton University and is passionate about mixology. As a student with a low monthly income, he has developed ways to create simple cocktails with complex flavors from inexpensive ingredients. Learn more about Nick and Broke & Thirsty.
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