The History of the Cuba Libre

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.


  1. charlypriest · May 27, 2013

    That was a fun fact to know. We Spaniards always f…up, first we start a war, which we don´t win by the way and go back home with our heads down, and some strange american soldiers are chilling out while the shots a ringing by enjoying the views, toasting with what all the bars here in Spain, ALL, and we all have had Cuba Libre at one point or the other in our lives. I bet that if it wasn´t because of those American soldiers chilling out getting drunk and bringing the concept back to their home country the world would never have been able to taste, and get wasted. So actually if you think about it we might started a war, but you are culpable of making drunks in the world. It´s all America´s fault.
    P.S. Don´t go to Cuba to drive stick please, plus I´m pretty sure you´ll end up more time out of the car pushing it than inside test-driving cars from the 50´s.

    • Nicole DiGiose · May 27, 2013

      Ha ha. Well, that’s true, I guess.
      I will steer clear of driving stick in Cuba.
      Thanks for the fun comment and for reading! 🙂

      • charlypriest · May 27, 2013

        Every time I pass through your blog I see interesting things, is no effort,plus you give me little ideas to write about in my unpublished little short stories and my novella, which are rusting somewhere in the hard-drive, no punt intended.

      • Nicole DiGiose · May 28, 2013

        That makes me very happy! Good luck with those. Will you post them on your blog?

      • charlypriest · May 28, 2013

        Eventually some day, just need to work much much more on them, plus I´d like to send them off to some literary magazines first, step by little step, I´m going for the long run. Stay Frosty Nicole.
        P.S:Plus when I get famous I will mention your name in the beginning saying this passage or that was inspired by….tata you. Or something like that, it´ll make you rich and famous.

      • Nicole DiGiose · May 29, 2013

        Sounds good to me. 😀
        Best wishes!

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