Last night, I had the chance to visit Cuba… right in downtown Paris! Hotel Eminente has opened its
doors for a limited time, transporting guests to a casa particular in the jungles of Isla del Cocodrilo.
This exclusive experience awakens the senses and immerses guests into the world of Eminente, a
new Cuban luxury rum within the LVMH group. Last night, the Hotel graciously treated us to an
evening of Cuban hospitality, full of expertly crafted cocktails, tapas and dinner by an authentic
Cuban chef, dancing, music, and a little bit of singing too (apologies to everyone’s eardrums after my
Upon entering the hotel, we were greeted by illuminated cabinets of curiosities, tropical plants, and
Cuban market smells: the scent of sugar cane and notes of Eminente rum. After greeting us, our
guide escorted us to a Regency-style bar area to enjoy creative rum-based cocktails and lively tapas.
Cuba’s rich cocktail culture stems from its cantinero, professional bartenders, who elevated the craft
before “mixology” became the buzzword it has today. Their tradition of inventive cocktail-making has
been taken seriously since before the founding of the bartenders’ association, Club de Cantineros de
Cuba, in 1924. In fact, many popular cocktails such as mojitos, daiquiris (a favourite of Ernest
Hemingway), and Cuba Libre, all originated on this island.
The cocktails at Hotel Eminente, returned to the roots of its rum – not just accentuating its flavours,
but also celebrating Cuban produce, such as tropical fruits and vegetables, spices, and coffee. The
cocktails were developed by Adrian Nino, head of the Parisian temple of rum: 1802.
I started with the Café Cocodrilo, an exquisite mix of Eminente Reserva macerated in burnt coffee, Olorosso sherry, maple syrup, and coffee. Later, I tried El Guajiro, a more potent blend of Eminente Reserva, sweet vermouth, Sherry blend, and Amaro di Angostura. This one was served with a pairing of dark Cuban chocolate – a sublime match.
While sipping our drinks, we were presented with three different tapas and delicious crusty bread: guacamole, tuna rillettes, and Fufú de Plátano (Cuban Mashed Plantain; a classic of Cuban dish). I couldn’t get enough of the plantains! As we nibbled and imbibed, we enjoyed live singing and dancing.
After the show, we left the bar. We were led across the street to an intimate paladar (family-run restaurant) to wine and dine on Cuban fusion. In fact, Chef Annabelle Cantarero was brought over from Cuba to prepare our multicourse meal of eight shareable dishes.
We started off with three appetizers: Tuna tataki with cilantro crème and habanero oil (my personal favourite) + Œuf parfait with grilled corn on the cob, glazed mini corn, popcorn siphon, chimichurri, and tuile de maïs + butter beans with pesto, onions, and nasturtium. These were accompanied by New Zealand Cloudy Bay Sauvignon Blanc.
Our mains were an eclectic ensemble of surf-and-turf: Eminente-flambéed Gambas, ginger sweet potato purée, cubed confit sweet potato, Eminente-infused onion compote, glazed and crispy onions, served on a spicy bisque + Pan con lechon made from caramelized pulled pork in brioche topped with salsa, a spicy habanero sauce on the side, more Fufú de Plátano (woohoo!), and flavoured mayo (this was another favourite!) + Cuban-style black beans with cilantro foam and wakame salad. These were accompanied by Argentinian Terrazas de Los Andes Malbec.
We had two decadent but refreshing desserts, starting with a tropical fruit gel on a coriander crumble and a coconut crème that was poured at the table. And, of course, we could not be at a rum event without a Rum baba! This version was soaked in Eminente and served with rum-infused citrus fruits and lime Chantilly cream.
I received a sweet surprise when they arrived with candlelit babas to celebrate my birthday and that of a friend too! It made an already special evening feel even more magical.
After the meal, everyone returned to 1802 for more festivities, including lots of dancing.
Overall, my experience at Hotel Eminente was wonderful and definitely something that I will cherish for a long time! I highly recommend paying them a visit before the popup ends on December 12th, 2021.