Reflections on Cuba: Running Down Hemingway’s Cocktails

[Now that things have calmed down, I wanted to share some personal reminiscences about my time in Havana with the Minnesota Orchestra.]

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“My mojito in La Bodeguita, my daiquiri in El Floridita.” – Ernest Hemingway

This iconic line, written out by Ernest Hemingway in regards to two of his favorite drinks in two of his favorite haunts in Havana, was an inspiration. I have a long fondness for rum (the essential ingredient for both drinks), and one of my hobbies is putting together craft cocktails. And since no one knew either Havana or rum like Ernest Hemingway… well, I knew that as soon as I had some downtime, I was going to hit the cobblestone streets of Old Havana, find Papa Hemingway’s favorite rum joints, and experience them for myself. Continue reading

Reflections on Cuba: Talking Pirates in a Pirate Fortress

[Now that things have calmed down, I wanted to share some personal reminiscences about my time in Havana with the Minnesota Orchestra.]

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Like many people, I’ve had a long fascination with pirates. (Well, perhaps I should say like many people in the English-speaking world; people in the Spanish Caribbean tend to have a somewhat different view of the “golden age of piracy.” In these parts of the world, Sir Francis Drake is still remembered as “El Draque,” a monstrous bogeyman used to frighten children.) Continue reading

A Look Backstage from Cuba

One concert down… one to go.

In case you are just making your way to my blog, I’m currently in Havana covering the Minnesota Orchestra’s historic tour to Cuba. And as a man who makes a living from writing, I’m embarrassed to admit I’m having a hard time describing everything that’s going on… it feels like mere words are simply not enough. Continue reading