Cuba Libre: The Drink that Brought Fun and Unity to the Masses T ranslating to “Free Cuba,” the Cuba Libre is what most Americans would p...
Cuba Libre: The Drink that Brought Fun and Unity to the Masses
Translating to “Free Cuba,” the Cuba Libre is what most Americans would point to and say, “Oh, that’s a rum and Coke!” But wait. It’s so much more than that. True that on the surface it basically a glass filled with ice, rum (light or dark), cola and lime, it has an incredibly fascinating history to it that you probably wouldn’t expect from a happy hour staple.
One account of the invention of the Cuba Libre is that it was invented in the very early 1900s in Havana, Cuba. It was here during the Spanish-American War that they would toast to the Caribbean nation with this concoction. However, Bacardi has a different account of the matter that’s also robustly fascinating.
They also place it during the Spanish-American War time. The Bacardi legend has it that Teddy Roosevelt along with the Rough Riders and other Americans came to Cuba. One day, a group of US soldiers were off duty and gathered at a bar. It was here that Captain Russell ordered Bacardi rum with Coca-Cola on ice with a lime wedge. Watching the captain delight in this alcoholic libation made the others follow suit. And thus, it was the drink that united the group with a spirit of fun and fellowship. They chanted out for the liberty of Cuba and that is how it got the name Cuba Libre.
This is largely what is regarded as happening though with most cocktails, you never can be too sure. What is certain though is that the Cuba Libre soon took America by storm after that with a huge boom in popularity thanks to the song by The Andrews Sisters called “Rum and Coca-Cola” in 1945. It was because of this and the incredible affordability of both Coca-Cola and rum during the time that it became so incredibly popular.
Variations of the Cuba Lire include making it with Diet Coke (known as the Cuba Light) and the Captain Pepper (made with Captain Morgan and Dr. Pepper). There are also ones that include the addition of hot sauce to really liven up the party.
So the good news is if you have always felt like a teenage kid walking into a bar, ordering a rum and Coke because you can’t think of anything else to drink, now you can order it as a Cuba Libre and add a bit more sophistication to your drink order. Then you can impress the others bellying up to the bar alongside you with your vast knowledge of the creation of the Cuba Libre and bask in the glory of the spirit for which this drink was created. After all, it’s all in the name of fun, and nothing is more liberating than that.