Cuba Libre, or as we call it - Rum and Coke, is most probably the first choice for anyone getting started with Rum/Whisky or cocktails in general. It is so easy to make with just three ingredients: rum, lime (or lemon) juice and coke.
In order to maintain the balance between sweet flavor and alcohol, the cocktail must be prepared with great care and you should respect the doses. As a safety fail-safe plan, do not fill your glass full and leave some space in it to pour more Cola or Rum to adjust the flavor to your own liking.
The Cuba Libre ("Free Cuba") is a caffeinated alcoholic cocktail made of cola, lime, and dark or light rum. This cocktail is often referred to as a Rum and Coke in the United States, Canada, the UK, Ireland, India, Singapore, Australia and New Zealand where the lime juice may or may not be included.
About Cuba Libre
The name of this cocktail comes from the shouts of joy of the people of Cuba, who took to the streets to celebrate the liberation of the island from Spain, in 1898, after a war fought alongside the United States. The patriots regularly mixed rum and cola as a highball to raise a toast during the war.
The island was immediately flooded with US goods, and among these the first was, of course, Coca Cola, a soft drink born a few years before, but which had already become an icon.
Rum in Cuba was (and is) drank more than water and also Cuba Libre was not really "invented" on that occasion, but more precisely "modified and modernized", because before Coca Cola, caramel was used instead.
This drink was once viewed as exotic, with its dark syrup, made (at that time) from kola nuts and coca.
Light or Dark (preferred) Rum is best for authentic Cuba Libre but you can also use Whisky if you don't have Rum available.
Well any Cola works, but Coke tastes best. You can also use other flavored carbonated drinks for different variations. We have tried Fanta (orange flavor) and it tastes just as good and unique. But remember, this is called Rum and Coke for a reason.
- Lemon/Lime (Half Lemon, Juiced)
It is actually optional but enhances the taste of the drink and adds a Tingly feel to it. Many people like it, some don't. So use as per your own preference. We in India like it with Lemon.
- Ice (Optional)
Again, this is optional. I like my Cuban Libre chilled.
There is no exact volume or quantity of coke/rum you need, as they need to be mixed in 1:1 ratio, or as per how strong or weak you want the alcohol.
Steps to follow:
- Pour your ice and Lemon/Lime juice into a glass. Remember, both of these are optional but I do recommend Lemon Juice, we don't have Lime available in India as easily so we use Lemon and it tastes just amazing.
- Pour your Coke and Rum in 1:1 ratio. You can change the ratio depending on how sweet or strong you want the drink. Personally I use 6:4 ratio of Coke:Rum. I use Old Monk Rum which is a Dark Rum and really popular in India. Recommend preference of Rum to use should be Dark Rum > Light Rum > Whisky.
Yes, Whisky is not a Rum but it does the trick if you don't have Rum available.
Tip: Don't fill your glass full, leave it a bit empty so that you have the option to add more Coke or Rum to change the flavor as per your liking.
Many recipes suggest garnishing it with pieces of lime, but I have a policy of not to waste food (or well, ingredients). So garnish if serving to others, else put the lime/lemon to use instead.
Some Recipe variations
- The Cuba Pintada
One part rum with two parts club soda and just enough cola so that it tints the club soda.
- The Cuba Campechana
One part rum, one part club soda and one part cola (1:1:1).
- Cuba Whisker
One part rum with one part whisky and two part cola (1:1:2). The Rum adds sweetness while the Whisky ads the alcoholic punch.
- Cuba Orange
This is something I had personally tasted in a pub in India. Same as normal Cuba Libre, but you use a Fanta (orange flavored carbonated soft drink) instead of a Coke and don't use lemon (Fanta is already quite tingly). The ratio remains same one part Fanta and one part Rum (1:1).