You may have heard of rum and coke a simple well-drink, however many people are not aware that a Cuba Libre is essentially the same drink. Sure, it may seem like a simple drink you’d order when you don’t want any surprises but this drink is actually enriched with fascinating history.
This is the type of drink that represents a special moment in history, quite literally. It’s a drink that has been used to commemorate one of the single most important moments Cuban history. So let’s dive into this journey of “liberty.”
The Cuba Libre, which translates to “Free Cuba” in Spanish, is a combination of rum, cola, and lime juice on ice. Usually the cola is specifically Coca-Cola, and the preferred rum is a Cuban light rum, such as Havana Club or Bacardi. Of course, however you want to make it is up to you, but do Cuba justice and go the extra mile! Who knows maybe you’ll taste a significant difference. Just don’t skip on the lime juice, that’s what draws the fine line between a regular old rum and coke and the classic Cuba Libre.
A brief history:
Just as you might have guessed it, this highball cocktail was created in Cuba around the 1900s. According to a Bacardi archivist Juan Bergaz Pessino, it all went down during a celebration in honor of the US victory over Spain in Cuba.
At the time, US forces were fighting the Spanish-American War and defending the island. Juan claims a Captain Russell of the United States Army Signal Corps was taking in the win at a bar, he ordered Bacardi rum with a Coca Cola and a slice of lime. While holding up his drink he toasted “Por Cuba libre!” in celebration of a free Cuba. These words had a special political significance, and had long before been used by Cubans and Americans alike.
According to cocktail historians Anistatia Miller and Jared Brown, an earlier version of the drink existed as far back as the Ten Years War from 1868-1878, when Cuba began the battle for independence from Spain. However, Coca Cola wasn’t exactly available to them at the time so a combination of honey and molasses was used instead, and traditionally toasted to a “Cuba Libre.”
The drink remains popular to this day and for many a strong symbol of hope for freedom in Cuba and the end of oppression.
The combination of rum and cola has had other historical and pop culture moments—it was popular during World War II and was the title of a hit song by the Andrews Sisters in 1945.
The Cuba Libre is one of the most popular cocktails in the world, and thousands of them are prepared each day. It’s simple enough that any bartender or homemaker can create it, with simple ingredients, yet enough taste to surprise your tastebuds with a kick. If you want to impress your friends or that cute bartender on your cocktail knowledge, order this drink but make sure to call it “Cuba Libre” instead of rum and coke, because they’ll either be impressed with your knowledge or you’ll get to educate someone new on its incredible history.
Let us know what you thought of the drink! Send us a picture of you holding this drink in your most patriotic way, and don’t be afraid to experiment at a party in order to make it your own. After all, that is how all drinks are created, someone has to be brave enough to try something new.
Thanks for reading, and as always…