Forever inspired by the colours of Cuba, and having formerly worked as an event stylist, I couldn’t help but dream up a Cuban-themed party to escape the onslaught of winter. I’m living in temporary digs right now and most of my belongings are on a ship somewhere halfway across the Pacific, therefore my party-hosting capacity is somewhat diminished. So I’m sending you my brainstorm of ideas for a winter-warming, Cuban-themed party that you’re friends will thank you for.
Disclosure: I may earn compensation from the purchase of any product or service linked on this website, at no extra cost to you. I only link to products I use and love, therefore feel comfortable recommending.
- Distressed pink tablecloth – A watercolour or tie-dye textured tablecloth in pastel hue, exudes the faded Caribbean architecture of the streets of Trinidad. You might even DIY it using this technique.
- Mix and match vases – Cubans are the kings and queens of make do and mend, so this is the perfect theme for using what you have. Mix and match coloured vases like these ones with tropical blooms and foliage for the centre of the table.
- Coloured dinnerware – Even if you don’t have a dinner set as perfectly Cuban-inspired as this one from Williams Sonoma, all you really need colour. Again, don’t be afraid to mix and match two or three different dinner sets for an authentic Cuban vibe. If you don’t have a lot of money to spare, take to your local thrift store for sourcing a few colourful pieces to amp up an all-white dinner setting.
- Yard dominoes – Dominoes is a popular Cuban pastime, and only gets more passionate, competitive and entertaining after a few rum cocktails. Entertain your guests with a set of oversized yard dominoes.
- Mojito set – If it’s going to be a genuine Cuban themed party, your guest will be expecting mojitos. The cocktail is traditionally served in a highball or collins glasses like these.
- Vintage travel poster – Hang a vintage Cuba travel poster or two for a sophisticated, jetset feel.
- Baskets – Use woven baskets for serving food, containing napkins, cutlery or other items on the table with an island feel.
- Daiquiris – Another another classic Cuban cocktail is the daiquiri. See an authentic recipe for the fruity elixir here.
- Cuban cuisine – Start by serving up Cuban-style snacks such as chicharrónes (pork rinds), plantain chips with salsa and savoury empanadas. For something more filling, think Ropa Viejo, a shredded beef dish marinated in Creole tomato sauce and served over white rice. Finish with a tropical fruit salad, and traditional arroz con leche (rice pudding).
- Música! – What would a Cuban themed party be without music!? A little Buena Vista Social Club, some Celia Cruz, Gente de Zona, Gloria Estefan and Benny Móre (do you see what I did there!?). Steal my Cuban Cool party playlist over on Spotify.
- Guayaberas – The classic button-up shirts worn by Cuban men, are called a guayabera and they are easy party attire for you or your guests who want to dress the part. There are also guayabera dresses available for the ladies or they might prefer to…
- Bata Cubana – Take inspiration from traditional Rumba dresses known as Bata Cubana, and add a little ruffle into their outfit with dresses such as this Reformation number.
- Straw hats – Keep a handful of woven hats in the fedora or plantation style on hand to use as decorations, for accessorizing your outfit or giving to that party guest who didn’t have time to dress for the occasion.
- Medianoche – If the party rocks on til late, you may want to have some Medianoche at the ready. This Cuban roast pork sandwich, translates to “middle of the night” which is exactly when this snack would be served up back in the salsa clubs of Havana. Get the recipe here.
- Parting gift – Send off your party guests with a couple of Cuban cigars, ahem, chocolate cigars – try this method for making these sweet gifts.
Enjoy your Cuban-themed soiree and have a mojito for me. For more creative, travel-inspired ideas, fly on over to the Destination to Inspiration series page.
Peace, love & inspiring travel,