HAVANA — You never know who you'll run into in this Caribbean capital.

While on a recent trip to Cuba, I visited El Floridita, the legendary Havana bar made famous by Ernest Hemingway and known as the "cradle of the daiquiri." I've made it a ritual each time I visit Havana to duck into El Floridita, partly to escape the suffocating tropical heat but mostly to enjoy some of the best-crafted daiquiris anywhere.

This time, I was surprised to see two bartenders I knew from New Orleans — Chris Hannah of French 75 and Ricky Gomez of Compere Lapin — sitting at one of the tables, nursing daiquiris.

It's become increasingly common to see Americans in Havana in the wake of the historic rapprochement between the U.S. and Cuba. That process reached a new level last month with the opening of the Cuban Embassy in Washington. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to travel to Havana later this month in a flag-raising ceremony to reopen the U.S. embassy here, shuttered since 1961...



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