An article I wrote for Chilled Magazine.
Known in the United States as the classic rum and Coke, the Cuba Libre is among the most popular of drinks. It can be found anywhere, from inside the plastic cups of college students to the local bar to high-end fancy resorts. It’s refreshing, it’s delicious, and it’s simple to make.
Though it’s loved around the world by people of all ages, the story behind this famous cocktail’s origin is a bit murky. Most accounts agree that it dates back to Havana around 1900, after the Spanish-American War, which began and ended in 1898 and led to Cuban independence. The name of the drink, Cuba Libre, means “Free Cuba,” which was the battle cry of the Cuban Liberation Army.
One story says that during the Spanish-American War, a group of off-duty U.S. soldiers went out for some drinks in a bar in Old Havana. Supposedly, a captain ordered rum and cola on ice with lime, and enjoyed it so much that he got the other soldiers to order a round and they toasted, “Por Cuba Libre!” to celebrate the freedom of Cuba.
To break the story down, the origin of the Cuba Libre is a bit of a mystery because the Spanish-American War ended in 1898, and it’s believed that Coca-Cola wasn’t available in Cuba until 1900. No question about it, this drink was first sipped in Cuba, but exactly when that was can be best debated over a round of Cuba Libres.
Since its discovery, many ways to mix this favored cocktail have been made. Some use white rum, others go darker. Some recipes call for Coca-Cola while others go for RC Cola or natural colas. No matter your choice of rum or cola, the brilliant and simple combination known as the Cuba Libre is so popular that it’s been said to be the second most popular drink in the world. Now that’s something to toast to.
Bacardi Cuba Libre
What You’ll Need:
1 part Bacardi Gold Rum
3 parts cola
Pour ingredients over ice in tall glass. Garnish with lime wedge.