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Havana Nights in New Zealand

MEDIA RELEASE 29th April 2008

Havana Nights in New Zealand

Havana Club Máximo Colección Award nights were held recently in Auckland, Wellington and Queenstown to celebrate the success of the establishments who took part in the Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix promotion. The spirit of Havana came to life on the nights, with Cuban music, South American atmosphere, Cuban cigars and of course, the finest selection of Cuban cocktails.

In Auckland, the award night took place at Coco Club on Sunday 20 April. Guests were transported to Havana with the Fort Lane alleyway transformed into a Cuban oasis, with the authentic aroma of South American barbeque and cigar smoke lingering in the air. It brought back memories for Selina Clarke from Lime Bar, one of the winners sent to the Cocktail Grand Prix in Cuba.

“We danced, drank cocktails and smoked cigars at a transformed Coco Club. I felt like I was back in Cuba’s capital again with Fusion Flamenco, blazing cigars, coupled with the ever-growing reputation of Havana Club rum.”

The Wellington event was held at Good Luck on Monday 21 April. Guests heard firsthand from Havana Club winner ‘the’ Riki Carter about his Cuban experience.

“It’s very hard when you’re asked what the biggest highlight was. When you’re in Cuba, everything is a highlight! One such highlight was being at El Floridita bar. I was in awe that I was sitting at the actual point where the great man, Ernest Hemingway, had on so many occasions also sat and enjoyed a daiquiri”.

At both the Auckland and Wellington Awards nights, guests had the exclusive opportunity to try Riki Carter’s award-winning and irresistible Havana Club cocktail, the ‘El Malécon’. Riki represented New Zealand with the ‘El Malécon’ at the Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix in Havana.

The Queenstown event was held at Debajo. Guests were treated to an assortment of amazing cocktails produced by Jason Clark and his team, including all the Cuban classics plus Jason’s infamous Volcano Bowls.

All Havana Club Máximo Colección accounts received the coveted prize of a bottle of Havana Club Barrel Proof and the Giraldilla trophy, the symbol of Havana Club.


During November and December, Havana Club ran a trade promotion where bartenders could win one of two trips to the Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix. The first trip to Cuba was awarded to the account who achieved the highest Havana Club pesos based on incremental sales versus last year. The second trip to Cuba was a random draw, with establishments receiving one entry for every 500 pesos they earned.

The two winners sent to the Havana Club Cocktail Grand Prix were Riki Carter - Matterhorn, Wellington and Selina Clarke - Lime Bar, Auckland.

In addition to the two trips to Cuba, bartenders from the participating accounts were invited to submit their Irresistible Havana Club cocktail, with a trophy, a Havana Club bartender kit, a profile in Bartender magazine and 5,000 pesos towards their total.

The Irresistible Havana Club Cocktail competition winners were;

1st: Riki Carter, Matterhorn, Wellington with ‘El Malécon’
2nd: Rennie Boon, Good Luck, Wellington with ‘Walnut & Cracked Pepper Blazer’
3rd equal: Tim Etherington Judge, Suite, Auckland with ‘El Mango’
Jonathan Knox, Euro, Auckland with ‘Cuban Tiramisu of 2015’

All participating establishments were given the opportunity to become an exclusive member of the Havana Club Máximo Colección, based on the amount of pesos earned.

The Havana Club Máximo Colección winners were
* Bar 3 Auckland
* Cartel Christchurch
* Flying Fish Palmerston North
* Good Luck Wellington
* Hawthorn Lounge Wellington
* Lime Bar Auckland
* Matterhorn Wellington
* Motel Wellington
* Pasha Auckland
* Soul Bar & Bistro Auckland
* The Kelvin Hotel Invercargill


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