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Geovanis Cespedes Pompa’s act is a toss-up. Literally.
Those who stop by the swim-up bar at the Gran Muthu Almirante Beach Hotel in the Cuban province of Holguin to size up bartender Cespedes Pompa’s much-talked about routine won’t likely won’t leave with any high expectations they may have had shattered after seeing his performance.
And nor should they expect to see any of the bottles of Havana Club rum he tosses here, there and seemingly everywhere — subsequently snatching them from the air — end up shattered on the floor either.
Cespedes Pompa routinely dazzles his guests by tossing bottles, shakers and ice cubes straight up in the air, and behind his back as well, then seemingly effortlessly catching them, often using a metal scoop used to gather ice normally used for cooling drinks to intercept falling ice cubes.
Lightning-fast hands are also used to toss a shaker in the air and then catch it on the neck of a rum bottle.
The affable bartender likes to throw in a little juggling as well, using three bottles of Havana Club simultaneously to demonstrate his quick handwork.
Cespedes Pompa, whose act was self-taught, also enjoys entertaining guests by balancing a shaker on his nose or a cup of beer on his head in between serving those guests the likes of mojitos and cerveza.
Cespedes Pompa’s skillful act has resulted in him earning Cuba’s Flair Bartender award five times and appreciation from his employer and guests alike
“It’s easier to prepare a cocktail than doing what he does,” says resort spokeswoman Dania Reyna Rodriguez. “They (guests) are not used to seeing that. His skills are so amazing. It’s very hard to get tired of it.”
Ontario resident Jim Campbell, a frequent visitor to Cuba who has seen Cespedes Pompa’s act, in turn labels him “the best (bartender) in Cuba.” Campbell adds he would be certain to use plastic bottles if he tried to match Cespedes Pompa’s act.
Adriano Garcia Ricardo, who works alongside Cespedes Pompa at the swim-up bar, says he continues to be impressed by his colleague, despite seeing his performances almost daily.
“He’s doing something incredible and the people (at the bar) have never seen that before,” says Garcia Ricardo. “It’s amazing to see that. Some people are born to do that . Some people are not.”
Meanwhile, Cespedes Pompa — who has honed his flair bartending skills for over 20 years and who confesses to having broken a number of bottles over the decades — has some sensible advice for Gran Muthu Almirante Beach Hotel guests who dream of emulating his theatrical flair when they return home.
“Practice means a lot,” he quite correctly advises.
Among tour operators sending people to the Gran Muthu Almirante Beach Resort is Hola Sun.
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