Why last thoughts? Has the curious abandoned her fair maiden Florence? And why are the last thoughts Cuban? I’ll explain all this and more.
Yes, I am back in Seattle- my former foodie stomping grounds. To make a long story short, I am taking a hiatus from Florence (my love) for several reasons (family, work, bla bla bla). So this post is intended to give you one last taste of my curious Florence until I can get back.
One of the things I miss the most about the Seattle drink scene when I am abroad are the cocktail bars. My favorite cocktail bars in Seattle include Sun Liquor (who operates a distillery), Canon Whiskey and Bitters Emporium and the very tried and true Rob Roy. I also love the fact you can get a decent well drink for under 5-7 bucks in most places in Seattle. Well drinks don’t exist in Florence. Actually they do but the bartenders (bless their Chianti spoiled hearts) consider them a 7-10euro cocktail and they are usually watered down nasty gin and overly sweet tonics with dried out lime wedges. Throw away any hope for a whiskey and ginger. Seattle may suck at having a non-pretentious wine drinking culture (I am not opposed to a 6 euro liter of house wine at a restaurant in Florence even if I know it smells slightly of gasoline) but they rule at getting you liquored up.
However, thanks to the ever evolving International scene in Florence- bad mixed drinks are being phased out. With places like Mayday and Sabor Cubano, you can now find a true craft cocktail that doesn’t only not suck, but will knock your socks off.
However, in Florence I have a favorite cocktail bar and that is Sabor Cubano. I love this place so much that my heart expands almost as soon as I walk inside. The owner is one of the smartest people I have ever come across in my life.
This man, not only being a dapper sight to behold, but has some serious taste and attention to detail. The humble, small bar is a sort of reclusive, refreshing nook in the belly of Florence. You walk in and are greeted instantly with class and style. It’s colored with vintage and Cuban nostalgia. The smells…the smells of freshly squeezed and pureed citrus instantly lift the mood. Lopez, the bar owner, makes all of his mixers with fresh squeezed juices carefully stored in sturdy glass liters. Feeling thirsty and they’ll quench it with filtered water and fresh lemon puree.
In addition to the best mojito you’ll ever have outside of Havana (I have never been but I am that confident in his skills), Lopez offers a handful of other fresh mixed drinks and they all include rare and select rums and spirits, thoughtful notes like aromatic mint leaves, black Himalayan salt for the margaritas, tart, sour and sweet FRESH tamarind fruit and grated spices like cinnamon and nutmeg.If you are not a cocktail imbiber, there are also some crisp Cuban beers in the fridge which is decorated by photos of grandmas being bad-asses smoking massive cigars.
Anyone that comes here must appreciate style and the good things in life. I love even how if you’re lucky, one of the bartenders will jaw drop the place with a tiny piano performance. The even better part is that these little sips of Cuban heaven cost just 5 euros a pop.
I hope that this humble watering hole retains its edge and quaintness until I can return. But if you are in Florence, do me a favor and have a CLET for me. It is a sort of lightly blended fresh daiquiri with a citrus twist or enhanced with touch of mango. It is named after the famous street gorilla artist Clet Abraham who likewise gives Florence it’s contemporary flavor beyond the overly in-your-face renaissance. Just like Lopez gives a fresh citrus and rum twist to an overly Chianti dominated Florentine village.
Until the next time in Florence,