What is a Patriota?
A sublime combination of coffee, chocolate, and mint, the Patriota is a cocktail highlighting the flavors and history of the Island of Cuba. It starts with sweet Cuban Coffee and is mixed with Bacardi Carta Blanca (white rum), smoothed with a hint of chocolate cream liqueur, and balanced with the brightness of fresh mint liqueur with Fernet Braca Menta.
Created by Laura Marnich, the Patriota was originally developed in 2015 for the Bacardi Legacy Competition, a global cocktail tournament. When I was approached by Laura about featuring her entry, my familiarity with the event was pretty limited.
I had no idea just how massive it was. It’s basically the Oscars of bartending.
More than 30 bartenders from around the world compete in one location by submitting their signature cocktail to a panel of judges, all with the goal of finding the world’s next classic drink.
When Laura presented the idea of featuring her cocktail on this blog, I was instantly intrigued by the careful thought that went into selecting each ingredient. It wasn’t just a cocktail, it was a history lesson. And an interesting one, at that.
The History Behind the Patriota
The Patriota cocktail was created as a tribute to Emilio Bacardi Moreau, son of the founder of the Bacardi rum distillery in 1862.
Emilio was more than just the heir to a rum dynasty. He was a freedom fighter for the Cuba’s independence from Spain. He believed in Cuba being Cuban, rather than ruled by the Spanish. He was arrested, exiled, and twice imprisoned for this belief.
Emilio’s sacrifice for the country he loved was finally rewarded when he returned from exile to become the first freely-elected Mayor of Santiago de Cuba in 1898.
The Meanings Behind the Ingredients
The Patriota is not only a tribute to Emilio’s patriotism, but features key ingredients that have become the foundation of Cuban culture.
Cuban Coffee (aka Cafe Cubano or Cafecito Cubano), known for its intensely sweet, sugary foam, helps create the frothy upper-layer of this cocktail. Coffee and rum has long been a traditional favorite in Cuba. With the economic boom following WWI, Bialetti, an Italian coffee pot maker, began exporting their famous “stovetop espresso machines” to the island. Known as the “moka pot,” the device became a staple in homes across Cuba, where it is used in the daily preparation of Cuban Coffee to this day. Read our tutorial on Cuban Coffee here.
Use of Bacardi rum, of course, is a tribute to the Bacardi family, their influence on the island nation, and the importance of rum in Cuban culture.
Also used is mint liqueur, selected for the importance mint plays not only in Cuban cuisine, but in signature cocktails like the Mojito that have played a key role in Bacardi’s expansion around the globe.
Finally, the chocolate cream liqueur creates a velvety consistency and highlights the farming and use of cacao on the island nation.
How does it taste?
The use of Cuban Coffee creates a delightful, aromatic, foamy layer. As it slips over the tongue, the flavors of strong coffee, mint, and just a hint of cocoa combine to create a balance of both earthy and sweet. The Bacardi Carta Blanca plays the perfect major role, as it serves as a vehicle for the flavors without being overpowering. The Braca Menta (mint liqueur) is quite intense, and provides a refreshing bite that lingers long after the first sip.
Let’s be honest here. This was the most fun I’ve had filming in a long time, because I got to drink so many of these. That mint and coffee combination is so memorable that I found myself craving another Patriota the next day. It’s an amazing balance of flavor that sticks with you in the best way.
Follow the Patriota & Bacardi Legacy Competition
At the time of writing this blog, the Patriota (with Laura at its helm) is in the final stages of the competition, which will commence in January. You can follow her progress online:
More on the Bacardi Legacy Competition here:
- 2 bar spoons of castor sugar (10 grams or 1.5 teaspoons)
- 25 ml espresso or strong coffee (1 ounce)
- 45 ml Bacardi Carta Blanca (white rum)(1.5 ounces)
- 10 ml Fernet Branca Menta (Italian Mint Liqueur)(1/3 ounce)
- 10 ml chocolate cream liqueur (1/3 ounce)
- mint sprig
- Whip the sugar with a drop of hot coffee (about 5ml worth, or 1 tsp.) until a smooth, fluid paste forms.
- Then add the remaining coffee and stir until sugar dissolves and foam rises to the top.
- Combine the cuban coffee, rum, and liqueurs in a cocktail shaker with ice cubes or chunks.
- Shake well until frosty. Strain and serve with a chilled glass and sprig of mint.
- Serve in a martini, fancy wine, or old sour-style glass.
Special thanks to Laura Marnich, who sponsored this post. We wish her the very best in the upcoming competition.
Music Credit: “Cumbia No Frills” by Kevin MacLeod.
Available under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 Unported license: https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/3.0/us/