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The Independent Culture
Nothing goes together like salsa and cocktails

London is swinging its hips to the seductive sounds of Latin rhythms. Salsa bars have been cropping up all over London, paving the way, of course, for the salsa restaurant. Eat salsa, have a class and then dance salsa all night.

If you haven't had the time to nip down to your local salsa class and loosen up even the stiffest of hips, there is an alternative: a cocktail.

Gone are the days when a pina colada was considered naff. The new cocktails are juleps, margaritas, caipirinhas and, of course, the mojito and daiquiri, immortalised by Ernest Hemingway. While he was resident in Havana, he allegedly graffitied the walls of La Bodeguita with: "My mojito in La Bodeguita, my daiquiri in El Floridita".

The daiquiri was invented about the time of the Spanish-American war in the 1890s by the owner of a mining company who wanted to impress some important guests. Realising he had run out of gin he substituted rum, and named the drink after the nearest village.

Contstante Ribailagua of the La Floridita bar in Havana is attributed with the invention of the frozen daiquiri and is said to have mixed a staggering 10 million daiquiris in his lifetime.

For something a bit closer to home, Havana, a salsa bar and restaurant, has just swung open its doors at Hanover Square in London's West End. Daiquiris are proving the favourite there among the salsa fanatics. Or you can mix your own ...

How to make a daiquiri

There are several varieties, but this is the basic one, recommended by Michael Jackson, Independent contributor and author of The Bar and Cocktail Book: Ingredients 1 to 1.5oz of light rum Juice of half a lime 1 tsp of powdered sugar Dash of maraschino liqueur Method

Shake thoroughly with plenty of crushed ice or mix with the ice in a blender and serve with a straw.

All that remains is to put on some Tito Rodriguez and get dancing.