The New King of Havana Club
By: Mercy Ramos, Photos: José Meriño
World famous Havana Club rum now has a new cocktail named “Cunyaya” created by skilled Cuban barman Amaury Cepeda, who recently won first prize at the this year’s Havana Club International Cocktail Grand Prix.
The competition has been taking place since 1996 and was held in the Cuban capital where the winner stood out among forty-four top bartenders from forty-three countries. In speaking to CubaPlus, Cepeda, the new Havana Club monarch, explained that to prepare this cocktail he used traditional ingredients to give it a touch of cubanía, Cuban essence: honey, sugar cane juice, sour orange juice, Havana Club 7 year rum and drops of Island Fruit Essence of Cuba. “This mix resulted in the Cunyaya cocktail, whose name is the Aboriginal word for the first sugar mill (a rustic machine used to extract juice from sugar cane) used by slaves in Cuba.
“It is a great honor to have represented my country and to have won first prize in this competition, with so many professional and experienced bartenders from other countries participating,” said Cepeda.
Second place was awarded to Lithuanian Povilas Veilandas and third place went to Marian Krause from Germany, while the People’s Choice Award went to Terkel Kleist, from Denmark.
Cepeda works as a bartender at the Yayabo tavern, which is located next to the bridge that bears the same name in the central province of Sancti Spiritus. In 2015 he was also the winner of Cuba’s most important national bartending competition, held in memory of Fabio Delgado. Last year Havana Club sold around four million cases of rum, some 50 million bottles in more than 120 countries.
The company ranks twenty-first among global beverage suppliers and is a world leader in superior and high quality rums.