Cuba Libre

Cuba Libre

The Cuba Libre is a highball cocktail with roots buried deep in the island’s heritage. The national drink of Cuba is often generalized with the popular rum and coke, but there are substantive differences. It requires dark rum, sweet cola, and lime juice…all immersed in a plentiful bed of ice. The Cuba Libre’s the perfect casual cocktail to enjoy on any occassion!


History of the Cuba Libre


The term “Free Cuba” originated in the late-19th century as the Cuban people increasingly clamored for their independence from Spain. The Ten Years War (1868-1878) ensued; during which independence fighters coined a drink called the “Cuba Libre,” a mixture of honey or molasses and water. A generic version of the native spirit rum was purportedly first used in combination.

The Cuban people eventually won their independence in 1898.

Towards the beginning of the 20th century the cocktail became increasingly popular in the United States. When Coca-Cola began sending its syrup to Cuba in the beginning of the 20th century the cocktail took on a life of its own. Shortly thereafter cola’s sweetness became a mainstay. In combination with the molasses-derived spirit rum and a splash of lime, the modern Cuba Libre was born.

Since U.S. and Cuban relations have soured, the Cuban brand tuKola has replaced Coca-Cola in Cuba.




The Cuba Libre distinctly requires a squeeze and garnish of lime to authenticate its name. The best Cuba Libre recipe requires a quality gold or añejo rum, preferably Cuban, instead of the basic sweetness provided by white or silver grades. The pronounced taste of aged rum adds a unique full-bodied character to the drink. This distinction from a rum and coke influences the quality of the cocktail, in a manner similar to the type of tequila used in a Classic Margarita.

There are several ways to prepare a Cuba Libre. Some methods call for the muddling of the lime wedges at the base of the glass. This technique uniquely disperses the lime oils in the cocktail and adds an elegant twist to its taste. But it’s not necessary.


How to Make a Cuba Libre!



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Cuba Libre Cocktail Recipe

Cuba Libre

  • Author: Jonathon McCay
  • Total Time: 5 Minutes


A deliciously simple Cuba Libre cocktail recipe! You’ll need aged rum, coca-cola, and lime.



  • 2 fl oz Gold Rum
  • 4 fl oz Coca-Cola (Cola)
  • 1 Large Lime (1/2 fl oz lime juice per serving)
  • Cubed Ice
  • Mint Leaves (Optional)


  • Slice a lime into 5-6 wedges.
  • In a highball glass, squeeze the juice from 3-4 wedges and drop in.
  • Add gold rum and cola to glass, stir gently for 10-15 seconds.
  • Fill glass with ice.
  • Garnish with lime wedge(s) and mint leaves as desired.
  • Enjoy!


*Nutrition information is approximate and varies depending upon ingredients used.

  • Category: Cocktail


  • Serving Size: 1-3
  • Calories: 185

Keywords: Cuba Libre, Rum, Lime, Mint

Cuban Rum
The Forbidden Fruit of Cuba Isn’t Cigars—It’s Rum


The novelty of the rum and coke has worn with its reputation diminished to a bland state. The drink’s been relegated to the confines of a less sophisticated atmosphere. Its expansive popularity, inexpensive ingredients, and ease to make has worked against the cocktail’s stature. Subjectivity aside, it’s necessary to resist the urge to conjoin this counterpart with the boldness of the Cuba Libre. The hallmark cocktail deserves it.


Try these other great cocktails:



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