Story has it that the drink we know as Cuba Libre was born in Havana in the aftermath of the Spanish-American war.
In August 1900, while celebrating victory at the American Bar in Havana, Cuba, Captain Russell of the United States Army Signal Corps, ordered his Cuban BACARDI Rum and Coke®, served with a wedge of fresh lime. This new combination sparked interest from the soldiers around him and soon the entire bar was drinking one. The Captain proposed a toast, “¡Por Cuba libre!” in celebration of a free Cuba.
That story is belied by others although the year of birth of the drink is not disputed. 1900 is generally accepted to be the year when Coca-cola was introduced to Cuba by American soldiers.
Cuba Libre is a cocktail drink made with rum, Coca-cola and a lime wedge. Back in college, we knew it by its American name, Rum Coke. No lime wedge; just rum and Coca-cola mixed together with no particular rule as to proportion. It was cheaper than beer and, in those days when good-time budget was low, Rum Coke made sense.
The most popular formula for Cuba Libre is one part rum, two parts Coca-cola and a lime wedge. A recipe from Serious Eats has lime juice. I tried both versions; I like the one with lime juice better.
- juice from half a lime
- ice cubes
- lime wedges
- 2 ounces rum
- 4 ounces Coca-cola
Note that I used kaffir lime which is what we have in the garden right now. Regular lime is traditional for making Cuba Libre.
Squeeze the juice from half a lime directly into a glass.
Drop the ice cubes into the glass along with the lime wedges.
Pour in rum and Coca-cola.
Serve and enjoy.
In memoriam: Fidel Castro (1926-2016)