We’ll jump into the history of the classic Cuba Libre cocktail in just a second, but first, here are some similar rum cocktail recipes you'll probably like: the Blue Passion Piña Colada
, the Passion Fruit Piña Colada
, the Piña Colada Shot
, the Pomegranate Mimosa
, the Strawberry Grapefruit Mimosa
, and the Caribbean Sunset Rum Punch.
Diving into the history of the Cuba Libre cocktail, we see that it began with American imperialism in the late 19th century. During the Spanish-American war, y’know, the one where the U.S. and Spain duked it out over who would be able to expand into the Caribbean, apparently an American captain ordered the drink. Liquor.com
says that “The story goes that Russell [the American captain] asked for… rum with cola and a lime, and chants of ‘Por Cuba Libre!’ (‘for a free Cuba,’ celebrating their independence from Spain) began among the soldiers and their Cuban counterparts….” The Cuba Libre cocktail Wiki notes
that “Fausto Rodriguez, a Bacardi advertising executive, claimed to have been present when the drink was first poured, and produced a notarized affidavit to that effect in 1965.” The Cuba Libre Wiki adds, however, that “Rodriguez's status as a Bacardi executive has led some commentators to doubt the veracity of his story," and that "Another story states that the drink was first created in 1902 at Havana’s Restaurant La Florida to celebrate the anniversary of Cuban independence.” So, yeah. The drink was either created by an American captain according to a Bacardi executive who says that Bacardi rum was used, or it was created by some nameless people at a restaurant in Cuba to celebrate the anniversary of Cuban independence. Again, the drink’s name is “Cuba Libre” (or “free Cuba”).... There is one caveat with the Cuba Libre history, however. Imbibe notes
that “During the Ten Years War from 1868-1878, fighters sipped a drink dubbed Cuba Libre, [which was] purportedly a mix of honey or possibly molasses and water….” So there was a drink called Cuba Libre before the Cuba Libre as we know it came to be, but that first one didn’t have any booze in it so we’re going to go ahead and not care about it. How about the actual Cuba Libre cocktail recipe? What drink concoction will we actually be pouring into our mouths if we drink this bad boy? It’s just a rum and Coke, right? NO! Wrong. Totally wrong. The Cuba Libre includes fresh lime juice and lime wedge! Seriously though, what’s the difference between a Cuba Libre and a rum and Coke? That lime juice and lime wedge. That’s it. Oh, and if all this talk about the classic Cuba Libre recipe has you in the mood for rum and Coke cocktails, here are a bunch of others to check out: the Frozen Rum and Coke
, the Rum and Coke Float
, the Rum and Coke Ice Cream Float
, the Dirty Rum & Coke
, and the Rum and Coke Slush.
2 oz. (60ml) White Rum
4 oz. (120ml) Cola
1/3 oz. (10ml) Fresh Lime Juice
Garnish: Lime Wedge
1. Add ice cubes to highball glass, followed by the rum.
2. Top with cola and a squeeze of lime. Drop the wedge in the glass as garnish.