Grand Cru, a mainstay of Govan's Belvedere Square, is a quiet little secret of a good cocktail joint.
You associate the place with wine, I'm sure. But they have a pretty nice little drink program and a team of bartenders who can make you just about anything your heart desires. But if you'd rather let the menu do the ordering for you, let me suggest you try The Old Man and the Sea — the drink not the acclaimed novel, though both are Hemingway crafted.
Cuba 1935. As bartender Constante "Constantino" Grande's mixed drinks at his bar, El Floridita, "a scruff, bearish man entered and asked to use the bathroom." According to one account, when the man emerged and saw the daiquiris lined up along the bar, his curiosity was piqued and he asked for a sip. "That's good, but I prefer it without sugar and double rum," the man said.
That man, of course, was Ernest Hemingway.
This modified version of the daiquiri became known as the Papa Doble. A later variation included a splash of grapefruit juice and a dash of maraschino liqueur: The Hemingway Special.
Baltimore 2013. Grand Cru owner Nelson Carey and crew pay homage to both life and literature, cleverly renaming the drink The Old Man and the Sea. No offense to Hem, but I'm glad that the drink was sweetened up; the result is a frothy, refreshing libation.
The double-dose of rum still makes this cocktail a sipper but the extra citrus and the kick from maraschino create something smooth and fruity — it's an island drink without the typical artificial flavoring.
According to cocktail scholar Eric Felten, the reason Hemingway allowed no sugar in his daiquiris was because they were harder to knock back in quantity; legend has it that Hemingway drank dozens of Papa Dolbes in one epic sitting (17 is the famed, roundabout estimate). Hem gives readers a pithier explanation in his novel, "Islands in the Stream": "If you drank that many with sugar it would make you sick." So, be thankful The Old Man and the Sea takes creative, literary license.
How to Make The Old Man and the Sea
2 oz. white rum
3/4 oz. lime juice
1 tsp. maraschino
1 tsp. grapefruit juice
1 tsp. sugar or 1/2 oz. simple syrup
Luxardo cherry, as garnish
Shake with ice and strain into a chilled cocktail glass.
Where to Get The Old Man and the Sea
527 E. Belvedere Ave., Belvedere Square
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