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Photo of the Plaza Hotel, Havana, from Wikipedia

Emilio González


The first cocktail king of Cuban bartenders; commercialized the Daiquiri

Emilio González—nicknamed Maragato in reference to the part of Spain he came from—arrived in Havana around 1890 and began working in cafés. At that time, cocktails were not really known in Cuba, but that soon changed, and evidently, González embraced it. At some point by 1909—while González was working at the Café Telegrafo—it seems one of the field engineers who had worked with Jennings Cox when the Daiquiri was improvised turned him onto the concept, which González then adapted to his tastes and began selling. González’s version of the Daiquiri became a huge success in Havana, and spread from there to everywhere, with no small help from growing tourism. With all this came fame, and in the early decades of the 20th Century, Maragato was “el rey del coctel” (king of the cocktail) in Cuba. González was eventually a member of the Club de Cantineros, and spent most of the rest of his career as the star of the bar at the Hotel Plaza in Havana.

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