Cuba Libre – the classic Cuban cocktail

Cuba Libre

Everyone who goes to Cuba, he just can’t ignore it, a good Cuba Libre. Cola, rum and a little lime juice, a handful of ice cubes and you have the simplest of all Cuban cocktails in your hands.

Or you just drink it on the Malecón, a can of tuKola supplemented with some rum and you get it the street version of this cocktail. Both are equally tasty.

The Cuba Libre – a cocktail?

The difference between rum-cola and Cuba Libre is the lime, only that makes the rum-cola a cocktail. So we are dealing with a fairly simple cocktail. Due to the availability of the ingredients and the simple preparation in Cuba cheap rum and cola are available everywhere so anyone can make them in Cuba. This made it one of the most used mixed drinks ever.

Due to its simplicity, the Cuba Libre is also widely used in bars, making it the 50th most popular cocktail in the world.

Where does the name come from?

The Cuba Libre was invented in Cuba around 1900, but nobody knows the exact story. Bacardi and Havana Club spread different stories about the origin of Cuba libre. That is not surprising when we look at the situation of the two companies (Bardardi even had a Havana Club on the American market, which was made in Puerto Rico!).

Before 1900 there was a drink called Cuba Libre, consisting of brown sugar and water. So the name was taken over to celebrate Cuba’s freedom. And you have to admit that it’s better to celebrate with rum than with sugar water! The exclamation “Cuba Libre” (Free Cuba) was common in the Cuban War of Independence of Spain, at that time there was no Coca-Cola (only from 1900).

Cuba Libre

Cuba Libre distribution

The Cuba Libre became quite popular shortly after 1900, when Coca-Cola started exporting bottles to Cuba. Havana was then, as one of the few hot weather cities, known for the spread of ice-cold drinks. The ice cream was still delivered by ship in the 19th century.

At the same time, the coke in the drink also conceals the taste of bad rum – so beware of bars, is this really Havana Club? The quality of the alcohol was not as high around 1900 as it is today.

However, the Cuba Libre made its global breakthrough in World War II, on the one hand by stationing many American soldiers in the Caribbean who brought their preference for the drink to the United States.

The recipe for Cuba Libre
Now Cuba Libre is not that hard to mix, but there is a recipe from the International Bartenders Association that is more or less the norm. Of course there are many variations – ingredients, type of rum, type of coke – of which I have listed a few.

5 cl white rum (añejo 3 años)
12 cl cola
1 cl of fresh lime juice
Take a Collins glass (tall and slim) – this is a glass that is also used for mineral water.
Then pour 2-3 ice cubes into the glass.
Cover the ice with the 5 cl rum.
Add to the 12 cl coke, stir.
For the decoration, put a slice of lime on the glass and a straw,
and the Cuba Libre is ready.

Cuba Libre