Cuba Libre

April 10, 2010 (Day 70) — Cuba Libre

The sun is shining, I’ve washed the cars, fixed the bumper on my Camry and I’ve taken the dog out on two runs. All together, a pretty efficient Saturday. Even more enjoyable when you consider there was almost no wind and the temperature outside is currently 80. Sure, it may have only recently become spring, but feels like summer might come early to Kansas this year.

The dog is dozing, a breeze is coming through the windows, so I’m on the back porch, partaking in another classic Cuban cocktail: the Cuba Libre — or Free Cuba. Now, most people’s first thought might be the revolution of Che Guevera and Fidel Castro. However, the Cuba Libre can trace it’s roots back even further — to the Spanish-American War.

Spanish-American War meant Rough Riders. And pure ass-kicking.

According to the above-linked site, the only certainty about its origins is that this cocktail was first sipped in Cuba. No one’s really sure what year it was first made. However, 1900 is generally said to be the year that cola first came to Cuba, introduced to the island by American troops. But “Cuba Libre!” was the battle cry of the Cuba Liberation Army during the war of independence that ended in 1878.

As Cocktails, 365 reader pneum0 mentioned in my Rum and Cola, the Rum and Cola in and of itself is simply just too sweet. When you have a molasses-based liquor with a sugar-based mixer, you’re going to have some lip-puckering sweetness. The lime, however, is the perfect accent.

Here’s what pneum0 had to say:

Nice, but I have always felt that the Rum and Coke was missing a garnish. Which is why I prefer the Cuba Libre. The lime juice somehow manages to cut the sweetness a bit, too.

Count me among the converts to the Cuba Libre. Here’s the recipe:

  • 2 oz rum
  • 1/2 lime
  • Cola

Fill a highball glass full with ice. Squeeze the lime over the top of the ice, followed by the rum. Drop the lime into the drink. Top with cola. Stir well. Garnish with a lime slice.

Perfect after a long day of hard, physical labor.

Pneum0, you weren’t kidding. This is very tasty, very smooth and the sharp citrus of the lime juice keeps it all from cascading over the edge into super sweet. You know how they say scent is the sense most closely tied to memory? This is one that I think will always remind me of sitting on the porch in the sunset, relaxing… just enough.


— Mark


  1. I love a traditional cuba libra, my friend Brenda makes the best ones……the secret is adding just a dash of coke!

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