Classic American Cocktail Recipes: The Cuba Libre

Vital Ingredients

Half a lime

60ml rum, white rum, and we think the best rum for Cuba Libre is Bacardí Carta Blanca White Rum

150ml cola



A mint leaf

Preparation Method

Cut half a lime into four small wedges. Squeeze the juice from two of the lime wedges into a tall glass. Drop the remaining wedges into the glass and fill with ice. Pour in the rum then fill the glass up with cola and stir gently.

The History of Cuba Libre

Cuba libre! was the battle cry of U.S. backed Cuban rebels fighting against Spanish rule at the end of the 19th century, when cocktails were becoming popular in U.S. cities. The U.S. intervened on behalf of the Cuban rebels and the once great Spanish power, great in the 17th century, that is, was ousted by Americans in the name of Cuban freedom and the USA became the colonial power.

This power grab was officially known through the distorted lens of historians as the Spanish-American War.

There are two contending accounts of how the Cuba Libre was created. In one account, during the Spanish-American dispute, back home in the USA, a jingoistic bartender and enthusiastic supporter of Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders intervention in Cuba and “Cuban freedom”, created the Cuba Libre in honour of Roosevelt’s military victory.

In another account, the Cuba Libre was thought to have been invented in the American Bar, Havana, in 1902, after Cuba, with American help had just won independence from Spain. Cuban and American soldiers were celebrating and chanting ‘Cuba Libre’ or ‘Free Cuba’.

An American army officer headed to the bar which now, after the victory, had a supply of cola, hitherto a rare product on a Spanish colonial island or anywhere else other than the USA at the start of the 20th century, and ordered a rum, cola and lime. The name of the new cocktail was obvious.