View Full Version : The Perfect Cuba Libre

Mike Williamson
22nd February 2012, 07:45 AM
On that first trip through the Caribbean, I remember that in addition to St Kitts, we called at St Lucia, St Vincent, Dominica and Grenada. Sometimes we stopped for no more than two or three hours, other times it was a couple of days. The most memorable stopover by far was Bridgetown, Barbados. I remember my first time here very well because it was November 30th 1966 – the day Barbados ceased being a British colony and became a self-governing state. It is now the date which is celebrated in Barbados as Independence Day of course. The country had a new flag, a new Prime Minister and something to sing and dance about and I’m sure we spent the best part of a week joining in with them.
Pretty soon we were all singing God Bless Bim and wearing shirts in the colours of the flag. The Saint was in his element – and it was here that I was to see him at his best when it came to creating the perfect Cuba Libre.
After a day down below, working on whatever task needed doing while we were in port, Geoff and I would meet in the Saint’s cabin at about 4 PM. “Come in, m’dears,” he would say in his rich west country accent. “Time for a drink.”
He would be sitting shirtless at his office desk in the Second Engineer’s cabin in his short slightly grubby khaki shorts, wearing a train driver’s style peaked cap and peering through his National Health spectacles. Geoff would be in an equally grubby white t-shirt and shorts, with me a shorter and smaller version of the same. Having left our engine room shoes at the top of the hatchway, we would enter in our socks and sit on his day-bed sofa being careful not to make too much mess as we did so.
He had a fine silver ice bucket on his desk from which he would delicately select one of two cubes of ice using the finest tongs and which he would carefully let drop into crystal “Old Fashioned” glasses, kept for the occasion. Next he would open his desk drawer and out would come the very finest Mt Gay Eclipse Rum which would be opened and generously splashed over the ice. He followed this by taking a lime from a fruit bowl on his desk and using a sharp paring knife would cut it into three segments which would be dropped into each glass. This was followed by a liberal measure of Coca Cola poured from a freshly opened can.
Finally with a flourish he would pull a ten inch screwdriver from his pocket, wipe it down with a piece of grubby cotton waste which had been sticking out of his back pocket and gently stir the contents of each glass as though he were at the Rivoli Bar in the Ritz.
Nothing before, or since, has ever tasted so good. Cheers to you Frank!

Robert Shepherd
6th August 2014, 11:29 PM
Sounds good to me, I do recall being in Puerto Cortes in honduras and myself and a friend of mine who went by the name womble found a shop which sold rum by the gallon so two bottle where purchased and off we went to the Bremerhaven bar to watch the afternoon shower show by the ladies who worked there however my friend picked up the bag hold one of the bottles but forgot to hold the bottle which fell to the floor rum rum every where and not a drop to drink anyway a quick trip to the shop again for another bottle. Needless to say after partaking of the stuff I seemed to lose a couple of days

7th August 2014, 02:28 AM
#1... Used to do all those Islands you mention Mike, used to carry mails there also. This was on the Sun Princess one of Saguenays. Finishing up in Port of Spain, after discharge of general used to back load Bauxite for Port Alfred. Have never seen the Carnival in Rio, but if it was half as splendid as Port of Spain must have been something before it was taken over by non hetrosexuals. Went on for 3 days the cosumption of Old Oak Rum must have been phenomenal. This was 67. What ship were you on. Know Harrisons had regular runners down that way also. Cheers John S