havana club, casa havana, skylounge

Casa Havana has taken over the Skylounge, sitting comfortably on the 12th floor of the Doubletree by Hilton Hotel.

When I think of summer pop-ups, the words 'rooftop' and 'cocktails' usually follow quite quickly in my head. Thinking along the same lines, the Havana Club rum team have set up Casa Havana, a Cuban-inspired cocktail bar, at the top of the Doubletree by Hilton.

Excluding the 30 degree temperatures, the bar mirrors what I imagine a street side venue in Havana feels like; rough surfaces brightly painted, rustic furniture, ice-cold cocktails served out of red Havana Club tins. But it's the amazing views that rightfully steal the limelight. With Tower Bridge and the Shard on one side, the City of London on the other and a lingering sunset covering everything in a warm golden blanket, it's hard not to get goosebumps. 

I got the ball rolling with a Shaquirir (£10), made using 3-year old Havana Club rum, apple liqueur, fresh lime juice and Cristal Cuban beer. Resembling a daiquiri, the cocktail nicely balanced the sweetness of the rum and apple, with the darker taste of the beer and sour lime. Similarly, The Silver Pineapple (£10) - coupling Sauvignon Blanc wine with fresh lime, pineapple juice and aged-rum -  was again incredibly refreshing, with the fresh pineapple delivering a slightly sweeter finish.

To help keep things on an even keel, the shredded-beef sliders (£9.50), topped pickled cucumber and bbq sauce, were a no brainer, as were the pulled pork quesadillas (£7.50). Both were well-flavoured and went down easily. Completing the meal, we inhaled the char-grilled octopus (£10.50), slathered in a thick smoked piquillo pepper sauce. The idea behind this pop-up is simple - refreshing cocktails and breathtaking views - and Casa Havana still manages to capture enough Cuban charm to dazzle all its guests in the sunshine. 

Casa Havana can be found at the Skylounge, atop the DoubleTree By Hilton, for the remainder of the summer.