El Floridita Cocktail

The “Floridita” Cocktail gets its name from the Floridita bar in Cuba. If you glance through various cocktail books, you will most likely find a variety of different drinks that go by this name, I’m not sure which one should be considered the original version, but this particular one I find to be quite delightful. You’ll also learn about how to make homemade Grenadine in the process. (And as to the name of this drink using the masculine “El” instead of the feminine “La”... I’ve been told that while the establishment takes the feminine name of “Floridita”, in Spanish the bar itself is masculine, and thus “El” should be used. At least that’s what I’ve been told.)


1 1/2 ounces rum

1/2 ounce lime juice

1/2 ounce sweet vermouth

1/8 ounce grenadine

<1/8 ounce white creme de cacao

Grenadine Recipe

1 cup water

2 cups sugar

1 pomegranate, seeded


Shake with ice.

Strain into a cocktail glass.

Garnish with a lime twist.

NOTE: Measuring all the ingredients is important with this drink. Specifically, be sure not to use too much creme de cacao, you should just barely taste it.

In a saucepan bring the water to a simmer and then stir in the sugar until it is dissolved.

Turn to a very low simmer and add the pomegranate seeds and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes.

Strain, bottle, and allow to cool.

Add 1 ounce of vodka as a preservative.


Robert Hess 17 Aug 2007
7:59 am

The Floridita is one of my favorite cocktails, but as I point out in the episode it is very important to measure carefully. I’ve had this drink made by bartenders who were just eye-balling the ingredients, and it was pretty bad.

Thomas Ufer 2 Sep 2007
6:41 pm

I love rum. Rum is such a great, flavorful spirit. Tonight I was winding down from a family member’s 75th Birthday celebration / Labor Day weekend get together. I looked through my small but ever growing liquor collection and saw that I had all the makings for El Floridita.

What an awesome cocktail ! The tangy lime in combination with the rum and the hint of chocolate at the end is fantastic !

Thank you for sharing this excellent recipe.

Alex 21 Nov 2007
1:20 pm

To ask a boringly practical question about vodka as a preservative in simple syrup and home-made grenadine: How long will it keep in room temperature? And roughly how much vodka to syrup do I need?

Sorry about the dull questions. Must remember to ask something more “food for thought”-ish next time =)

Robert Hess 21 Nov 2007
1:43 pm

I haven’t done an exhaustive study on the topic. I made simple syrup once without adding any vodka and saw that it eventually started growing black specks… so on the next batch I added about an ounce and a half of vodka to a pint of simple syrup, and haven’t seen any more signs of black specks.


blair frodelius 8 Mar 2008
3:30 pm

I’ve made a few fruit syrups, but not grenadine.  I appreciate the great advice on how to seed a pomegranate! 

My question is this: When making a raspberry or pineapple syrup, should it be done in the refrigerator for 24 hours, at room temperature for less hours, or simmering on the stove for 30-45 minutes as you suggest with the pomegranate?  And while I’m on the subject, how about using this method with other fruits such as papaya, mango, blackberry, strawberry, etc?

Robert Hess 8 Mar 2008
10:12 pm

My preference when making flavored syrups, using fresh fruit, is to simmer the fruit in the simple syrup, although other methods work too, and because each method has a slightly different result, there might be some fruit where each of them might work better.

Danny 4 Sep 2009
4:46 pm

This truly is a magnificent cocktail.  Thanks for presenting it, Robert.  After making this drink several times, for my taste, I find adding a touch of simple syrup creates a more balanced drink.

Nik 5 Dec 2009
3:51 pm


Do you have any experience with limes concentrating from drying up?  The reason I say this is, I made a drink with half of a lime and left the other half out on my cutting board, cut side up for a few hours.  I came back and made this drink, and I measured very carefully but the drink came out extremely sour…a lot more so than I thought 1/2 oz of lime juice could produce.  My only theory is that by leaving the lime cut side up it dried up so when I juiced it I was getting a concentrated juice that held more acidic potency.

Robert Hess 6 Dec 2009
5:35 pm

Nik, what I’ve noticed isn’t so much “concentrating” of limes as they dry, but the lime going bad as the juice gets more bitter, and not in a good way.

Danny 6 Dec 2009
6:22 pm

Regarding my earlier comment about adding simple syrup: Since making my own grenadine, as you showed Robert, I find it not necessary to add more sweetness.  Perhaps the sugar content in my homemade grenadine is greater than that of the commercial product I was using.

Chris CV 11 Jul 2010
4:09 pm

Hi Robert, I’m a big fan of the show.  I’ve been making my own grenadine for a while now, but I’ve just been using pomegranate juice.  Like lemons and limes, pomegranates are found in varying sizes. About what volume of arils do you use in your recipe of 2 cups sugar and 1 cup water?

Robert Hess 12 Jul 2010
8:42 am

When making mine, I don’t worry “too much” about the size of the fruit, I just use what appears to be a normal sized one.

kim bye 3 Mar 2011
2:09 pm

i love your videos Robert. In regrads to the grenadine i highly recomend using hibiscus flowers in addition to the pomegrante and sugar syrup - you will get a gorgeous deep red colour :)

Steven D. Lauria 9 Mar 2011
3:16 pm

Hi Robert,

I made my own granadine for this wonderful quaff before pomegranates went out of season last Fall, and put in an ounce of vodka to keep it fresh.  It and the drink were delicious. 

Would you please tell me how long the granadine will last before going bad?


Robert Hess 10 Mar 2011
9:35 am


Glad that you took the leap to make your own grenadine! As for how long it would last before going bad… I hesitate to get too specific about that since I’m not a food scientist, and don’t know the specifics here. But if you keep it in the fridge, and have an ounce of vodka for every two cups off grenadine, then I suspect it would last for several months before going technically bad? It might start losing color and flavor before then.

Floridan 29 Aug 2011
6:48 am

My new favourite!! I double it in a 10oz Martini glass and it’s perfection! Thanks Robert!

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