Venture out of Havana towards Viñales and watch the pastel houses and grand Spanish style colonial architecture morph into a countryside dotted with tobacco fields. A three-hour tour will take you through the basics from picking aromatic tobacco leaves, drying, curing and rolling.
Celebrate your newfound knowledge with a freshly-made cigar, rolled by a wizened farmer. Buy a pack or two for your boys at home – the cigars here are significantly less expensive than Monte Cristo, Cohiba and Romeo y Julieta, brands that are ubiquitous in the bodegas of Havana. Cuba Libre – the battle cry of the Cuba Liberation Army during the War of Independence – is the go-to-drink in the island country, popularly known worldwide as rum and Coke.
And although Cuba is where Bacardi was founded, I prefer Havana Club’s naturally aged rums for their more nuanced flavour profiles. Stop by a local factory on the way back from Viñales for all the juice on how sugarcane is transformed into some of the most expensive booze in the world.