HAVANA, Nov 9th  The son of the former owner of the famous Cuban bar-restaurant Floridita Jorge Ribalaigua Meilan, is in Havana with the purpose of filming a documentary about the Catalan influence in the Caribbean nation.

His father, the Catalan Constantino Ribalaigua Vert (1888-1952) was a famous owner of that establishment and friend of the American writer Ernest Hemingway, who practically installed his headquarters in that place during his stay of about 20 years in this archipelago, highlights Prensa Latina .

Hemingway was a regular at the Floridita, a restaurant that is included in the novelist’s route in Cuba, where he fished needles, and even chased German submarines during the Second World War.

Now Ribalaigua Meilán tries to highlight the figure of his father not only in front of the Floridita, but as a recognized master of the bartenders, as typified by Hemingway.

The executive secretary of the national management of the Association of Cuban Bartenders (ACC), Lisbeth Elías Muñoz, reported this information to the press, adding that Constante’s son, as his friends knew him, also brought with him the ashes of his mother (Amparo Meilán).

Those ashes, he said, will be deposited in the family vault of the Cemetery of Colón, in this capital.

Muñoz said that the directors of the ACC received Ribalaigua Meilán and exchanged with him and his family, together with the film crew of the documentary that will take place in Havana, from this Wednesday.

The executive secretary also informed that this film is directed by Spaniards David Barba Serra and Montserrat Sala Egea.

Both are historians belonging to the Project Amargura Cultura, from Lloret del Mar, Barcelona, ​​and will attend different locations in Havana.

In the meeting with the ACC, its board of directors gave the visitor the status of Honorary Member of that professional entity. For his part, Constante’s son gave a picture with his father’s photo to the president of the ACC, José Rafa Melém.

They recalled that in 1914, the Catalan Constantino Ribalaigua Vert began working as a waiter at the La Florida bar at age 26, and in 1918 he would become the owner of the store when he purchased it from Sala I. Perera, already under his definitive name, Floridita.En La Habana, hijo del ex dueño del Floridita para filmar un documental

It was Constantino who brought the daiquiri for the first time, a drink that would have been born in eastern Cuba, thus creating the frapeado daiquiri.

Hemingway visited the Floridita and told Constante, when he tasted daiquirí for the first time, that it was fine, but better without sugar and with double rum, hence a particular drink would carry his name since then, Pope Hemingway.

During the following three decades, Ribalaigua Vert catered to tourists, visitors, artists, actors and expatriates, creating craft cocktails at a time when liquor work was barely considered, and then set guidelines in the world canteen, up to the present.

For his expertise and creativity, Ribalaigua was also known as The King of Cocktails.

From his ingenuity were born such famous mixtures as the President (for the Cuban president Mario García Menocal) the Mary Pickford, for that American actress, in addition to the Havana Special, which responded to the name of a line of maritime trips to Cuba from Key West. Constant died in 1952.
First published in RHC