The simple, yet civilized Cuba Libre is your way to channel Havana through your glass.
OK, I know, although it is refreshing and tasty, there’s simply no getting around this fact that Rum and Coke is a lazy person’s drink! But the real Cuba Libre, the grown up’s, the hip sipper’s drink has always been more than that: A little fresh lime juice squeezed into the mix instantly improves the taste and elevates the drink.
As with most cocktails, the exact origins of the Cuba Libre are lost in time. The cocktail definitely originated in Cuba, most likely in the year 1900.
A few fanciful tales revolve around this drink, but it’s fairly certain that this mixture of Bacardi Rum and Coca-Cola with a twist of lime came about in Havana shortly after the Spanish-American War. Whether it was invented by an American soldier or a Cuban bartender, it is a fact that “Cuba Libre” translates to “Free Cuba” and celebrates the Caribbean island’s independence from Spain.
Nice story, but, to be honest, you’d have to be pretty gullible to believe it…
First, Coca-Cola was invented in 1886 it wasn’t, at first offered in bottles or shipped to other parts of the world. The first major bottling did not occur until 1899. It is impossible to believe that bottles of Coca-Cola would have been shipped to bars in Havana by 1900, or supplied to U.S. soldiers in Cuba. International shipping did not begin until at least a decade after this, and international bottling did not begin to occur until the 1920’s.
To believe the story, we’d have to believe that a Cuban bar had Coca-Cola on hand before it had ever arrived in Cuba. Or, that a U.S. Soldier had a bottle of Coke before bottles of Coke were widely available. As well, we’d have to believe that this then unlikely combination was ordered at a time before Coke had entered the public consciousness in the ubiquitous way it has now. But, this being said, it’s a catch story.
Whatever the exact origins, the drink conjures up thoughts of the streets of Havana, Cuban music swirling, and hot lazy sunshine making it impossible to do much else but just sit and enjoy.
Cut lime in half
Squeeze half the lime into a glass and chuck in the spent lime shell
Muddle the lime shell in the bottom of the glass to release additional essential oils
Add ice to the glass and, if you like it limey, squeeze the second lime half over the ice
Top up with Coca Cola
Sit back and enjoy