Travel to Havana from the Comforts of Home with a Classic Mojito and PBS Special “Weekend in Havana”

With the premiere of WEEKEND IN HAVANA on PBS coming up July 18th, we’re cooling off your summer with this delicious WEEKEND IN HAVANA Classic Mojito recipe provided by!


The Classic Mojito

The cleanest, most refreshing Cuban cooler is, hands down, the mojito. During Hemingway’s time in Havana, he reportedly enjoyed his at La Bodeguita del Medio, where cantineros are said to have been the first to muddle mint into the cocktail. Some Havana restaurants, including Dona Eutimia’s, off Plaza Catedral, serve a frappé version, another delicious way to beat the Havana heat.

  • 2 teaspoons sugar
  • Juice of one half of a lime
  • 2 sprigs mint
  • 1 shot white rum
  • 2 shots sparkling water

Mix the sugar and lime juice, then muddle the mint into the mixture. Mix in the rum. Add ice and sparkling water.

Journey to the heart of Cuba’s magical city during a WEEKEND IN HAVANA

Premieres Tuesday, July 18, 2017 at 8:00 pm Eton PBS as part of the “PBS Summer of Adventure”

(CHICAGO) June 8, 2017 — Travel with host Geoffrey Baer to explore the heart of Cuba’s magical capital city, now open to American tourists after more than 50 years. Three young locals — architect and restorationist Daniel de la Regata; Irene Rodriguez, one of Cuba’s top flamenco dancers; and Grammy-nominated jazz pianist Roberto Fonseca — serve as enthusiastic guides, allowing viewers to experience this vibrant and historic place through the eyes of those who love and call it home. Produced by WTTW Chicago, directed by Leo Eaton, co-written by Eaton and Geoffrey Baer, and produced by Donn Rogosin, Dan Soles and Hugo Perez, WEEKEND IN HAVANA WITH GEOFFREY BAER premieres Tuesday, July 18, 2017, 8:00-9:00 p.m. (check local listings) on PBS. Also available for viewing on, the documentary is part of the “PBS Summer of Adventure,” a lineup of programs designed to take families on exciting adventures around the world.

Geoffrey, host of the 10 That Changed America series about game-changing buildings, homes, parks and towns as well as more than 20 specials on Chicago history and architecture, takes to the streets of Havana with his guides and new fast friends, Daniel, Irene, and Roberto. After meeting up at a café in Cathedral Plaza in Old Havana, he is given a whirlwind tour of Cuba’s fascinating and colorful history, a hands-on introduction to Afro-Cuban music and dance, a primer on Havana’s varied architecture and efforts being made to restore many of the city’s ruins, and an inside look at how everyday Cubans live in this “old city trying to find its place in the modern world,” a land off-limits to Americans for decades.

The immersive website for WEEKEND IN HAVANA WITH GEOFFREY BAER will take visitors on a weekend tour in text, sound, images, video and VR/360 around Havana. The mobile tour explores the culture, sights, and Cuban rhythms of this unique and mysterious place. Also featured will be side trips to visit Hemingway’s Cuba, see how Cuban cigars are made, learn how to make the perfect mojito, explore baseball in Cuba, and a timeline of US/Cuba relations. Geoffrey Baer’s travel journal will feature his favorite photos and memories from the trip.

Guided by his new friends, Geoffrey witnesses the nightly firing of the cannon at the fortress of San Carlos de la Cabana; visits Plaza de Armas, the city’s first public square; rides in a 1950s-era red Chevrolet on a journey through Havana’s breathtaking but sometimes crumbling architecture; and meets an auto mechanic charged with keeping many of Havana’s vintage automobiles in running order. He also takes a wild ride in a “coco taxi,” a small yellow vehicle sans seatbelts that looks like a coconut, and gets an overview of the vivid local arts scene, which includes street musicians along El Malecón’s crowded sea wall. He dines in one of the city’s many paladars (intimate family restaurants in what were once private homes), and hobnobs with the fashionable young crowd at La Fabrica, a series of art galleries, bars and performance spaces located in an old factory.

Geoffrey also visits a ruined sugar plantation where African slaves once toiled and takes part in a present-day Santeria ritual in a private home. From Roberto and his band, Geoffrey gets a quick tutorial on Afro-Cuban percussion at the famous Studio Areito, one of the oldest surviving recording studios in the world. After a visit to the U.S. Embassy, Geoffrey watches young athletes taking part in America’s and Cuba’s joint national pastime, baseball, unearths some reminders of the turbulent Cuban Revolution era, and is granted rare access to one of Havana’s most important restoration projects: El Capitolio, Cuba’s Capitol building, modeled after the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. He also imbibes at one of Ernest Hemingway’s favorite watering holes and boats out to the small fishing village of Cojimar, the setting for The Old Man and the Sea, where he tours Hemingway’s house with co-producer Hugo Perez.

Geoffrey checks out the glitzy floorshow at the Tropicana nightclub, and ends his journey at La Guarida’s rooftop piano bar, perched atop a crumbling mansion. With Roberto’s band playing in the background, he reflects on the new understanding he has gained of Havana. “This production was unlike any other,” said Geoffrey, “a journey I will never forget. I really feel that I left a piece of my heart in Havana, along with the wonderful friends I made and the magical experiences they gave me. I hope audiences enjoy this trip as much as I did!”

“For me, this is a show about the spirit of the people of Havana,” said director/writer Leo Eaton. “Their warmth and hospitality — especially from our guides — made this film possible, and it was a real pleasure to tell their story.”

For Executive Producer Dan Soles, Senior Vice President and Chief Television Content Officer at WTTW in Chicago, this project was a dream come true. “As a second generation Cuban-American, traveling to Havana meant so much. It was a thrill to see this amazing place with my own eyes and meet some of the remarkable people leading Cuba into the future.”

WEEKEND IN HAVANA WITH GEOFFREY BAER is directed by Leo Eaton, hosted by Geoffrey Baer, co-written by Leo Eaton and Geoffrey Baer, and produced by Donn Rogosin and Hugo Perez. The Executive Producer is Dan Soles.

WEEKEND IN HAVANA WITH GEOFFREY BAER is made possible, in part, by The Joseph & Bessie Feinberg Foundation.

A full press release is here:
Weekend in Havana Press Release

Contact: CaraMar, Inc.

Mary Lugo, 770-623-8190;

Cara White, 843-881-1480;

Weekend in HavanaGeoffrey Baer and Daniel de la Regata restoration architect.jpeg

Weekend in Havana – Geoffrey Baer and Daniel de la Regata restoration architect (Photo courtesy of WTTW and Brian Canelles)


Weekend in HavanaDaniel de la Regata restoration architect with Geoffrey Baer at Plaza de la CatedralPhoto WTTW and Brian Canelles.jpeg

Weekend in Havana – Daniel de la Regata restoration architect with Geoffrey Baer at Plaza de la Catedral (Photo courtesy of WTTW and Brian Canelles)

Weekend in HavanaRoberto Fonseca musician with Geoffrey BaerPhoto WTTW and Hugo Perez.jpg

Weekend in Havana – Roberto Fonseca musician with Geoffrey Baer (Photo courtesy of WTTW and Hugo Perez)

Weekend in Havana_Geoffrey Baer high above Havana Harbor_Photo WTTW and Brian Canelles.jpg

Weekend in Havana – Geoffrey Baer high above Havana Harbor (Photo courtesy of WTTW and Brian Canelles)


Worn and Tattered Travel Journals: Stellenbosch

by Kate Slenzak

After a quick dive into the archives (read: worn and tattered travel journals) I give you, a tale from my first night in Stellenbosch, uncut and mildly edited because spelling isOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA hard, ya know and drunk journaling is apparently a thing I do…. After being dropped off at the doors of our residence complex and being essentially told to figure it out (mind you it is like 8:30 PM and there is no one in sight who might be able to help) we managed to find our rooms. We quickly dropped our things, ate some pizza (obviously the most important part of the night) and met back up to head out for our first night on the town. Three lovely Americans, still slightly jet-lagged, definitely disoriented and confused, headed out for an exciting Tuesday night in Stellenbosch, South Africa. With very little knowledge of where exactly we were going, we randomly chose a direction to head and eventually found someone who took sympathy on our clearly lost souls:

C: Hey, we aren’t from here…

Stranger: Yeah I can tell, what are you looking for?

(Side note, how the hell did this guy know we were foreigners. Must have been my damn baby face.)

C: A bar or somewhere to just grab a drink.

Stranger: You’re looking for a place where all the young kids go… Bohemia is right down the street about two blocks.

BINGO! Former students had told me about this place, cheap drinks, awesome pizza and a chill atmosphere was expected. We headed into the darkness and came across the holy land– BOHEMIA. As we walked in I decided that I was definitely not cool enough to be there. Such grunge, much rock, so roll. Hello hot bar tender… I ordered a nice box of rosé and we took a seat. While awkwardly swaying back and forth on my much too tall bar stool and making small talk, I got unexpectedly drunk… oops. I am going to blame it on the fact that I was (possibly) still jet-lagged and ignore the fact that I am actually a terrible light-weight, which isn’t actually a bad thing and actually just makes me a cheap date, so take that society. We decided to leave after finishing our drinks and as we started to descend down the stairs I WIPED OUT. I am not talking just a slip down one step and I catch myself, no. I fell down a whole flight of stairs on my ass. Welcome to Stellenbosch, you drunk bitch! I can honestly say that, no, I was not that drunk. Literally 2 minutes before we got up to leave I watched a server drop a beer down the stairs. To which I responded by thinking to myself, “huh, better be careful when we leave, wouldn’t want to slip down those stairs.” I wasn’t careful, and instead ended up with an outfit covered in bar scum and a laughing table of onlookers at the bottom. Cute. After laughing it off to hide the pain (the bruises stayed on my butt for a good two weeks), we headed back to our housing complex. Ready for a night of settling in, we were halfway back when we hear a harmonica…. And singing… is that Afrikaans?



Out of nowhere a group of three half-dressed men rush over to us and begin to ask us where we are from.

Bro #1: Would you like to come in for a drink?

Me: Why are you not wearing shirts, I feel overdressed?

Bro #2: Oh we have an Olympic size swimming pool in the back.

Me: Fair enough.

And the three of us lovely young ladies head into a strange house with a bunch of bros. No worries though, it looks like a frat house so clearly I’m right at home. We head out to the backyard and find around 15 people rocking out to Miley Cyrus and surrounding a kiddie pool. Not going to lie, I thought it was hilarious. One drink lead to another and all of a sudden I find myself having the bar scum washed off of my upper thigh by Bro #2 while I ask Bro #1 if he knows what I mean when I say “white privilege.” Is this real life? They all head out to the club (in their swim trunks) and we head back to our apartments for a drunken slumber. Welcome to Stellies ladies, stay classy America!

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