No cocktail for Columbus at Cuba landing monument

Mon Aug 17, 2009 7:23pm EDT
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By Jeff Franks

CAYO BARIAY, Cuba (Reuters) - "A Columbus cocktail?" asked the bartender with a quizzical look.

A visitor had asked whether the bar at windy Bariay Bay, the first place in Cuba where Christopher Columbus set foot on his 1492 voyage, had concocted a special drink in honor of the world-famous navigator and explorer.

But like much else in communist-led Cuba, history gets a different twist at the Bar Corocote, part of an oddball monument to Columbus at the site.

"We do have the Corocote (cocktail)," says bartender Alexandr Gomez Gonzalez, pushing back the cocked hat he wears as part of his Christopher Columbus costume.

Made from honey, coconut juice and rum, the Corocote is named after the god of virility worshiped by the indigenous Taino people who lived here when Columbus made landfall on October 28, 1492.

The drink is said to boost a man's virility, Gomez said, slyly glancing toward a stone likeness of Corocote perched by the front door.

The crouching little figure, with the barest hint of a smile and a significant male appendage, looked like he had drunk several of his namesake cocktails.

Located on Cuba's northeastern coast, in Holguin province about 500 miles east of Havana, Bariay National Monument Park is far enough off the beaten path so that, especially in Cuba's summer low season, days can go by without visitors.   Continued...