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Hemingway brought all of his famous friends who visited him in Havana to The Floridita, his favorite bar. Here he entertains Spencer Tracy (left) and Mary, his fourth wife (right).


Hemingway's presence is never very far away. Fifteen minutes' walk from the Ambos Mundos - or three or four days if you stop to talk - there stands, beneath a fine old sign of swirling neon, his favourite Havana bar, El Floridita. It's little changed from the days when he would be snapped at the bar with Errol Flynn or Gary Cooper. Hemingway drank there a lot and drank a lot there.

Though I'm not allowed to sit in the hallowed corner which was, and still is, reserved for Hemingway, I'm as near as I can get to the altar, and I can see why he liked to sit here, back to the wall with a good all-round view. But then, Hemingway didn't just sit. He presided.

I can also understand why, as a connoisseur of the cocktail, he always preferred a seat at the bar to a seat at the table. From here I can follow every tip, twist, shake and stir of the mixing process.

Palin sips on the drink Hemingway invented here, the Papa Doble, a double daiquiri.

Palin saddles up to the bar at The Floridita, but is denied access to Hemingway's coveted corner stool.

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"The Papa Doble"

The following recipe is based upon the Daiquirí recipe from El Floridita that Hemingway drinks with A. E. Hotchner in his book Papa Hemingway.

Photo credits: Ernest Hemingway Photograph Collection/John F. Kennedy Library/The Floridita Bar, © Basil Pao, 1999. Text excerpt: "Michael Palin's Hemingway Adventure" by Michael Palin © Michael Palin, 1999 Used with permission of Cassell & Company. Buy the book in the Palin Store.