Another nice and easy cocktail just in time for the weekend, but don’t let the simple ingredients fool you as this is more than just a humble rum and coke – the addition of fresh lime juice gives a balance that makes this an easy drinking cocktail perfect in warmer weather. The balance in this case is achieved through the combination of sweet:sour ingredients, with the sweetness coming from the sugar in the Coca Cola and the sour from the citric acid in the lime juice.
A little History
The Cuba Libre, as the name suggests, originated in Cuba sometime around 1900 when Coca Cola was first introduced to the island. The name is thought to be based on a battle cry of the Cuba Liberation Army during their war of Independence in 1898, and was called out in recognition of their newly found independence during some heavy drinking sessions.
Making the Cuba Libre
You will need
- Collins/Highball glass
- 50ml Rum (preferably Cuban)
- 1 lime (preferably ripe)
- Coca Cola
Take your highball and use your measure to pour in 50ml Cuban rum (I’ve used Havana Club as it’s actually Cuban but if you’re from the USA then this isn’t going to be available – light Cruzan or Bacardi will do).
Next, cut your lime in half and use a citrus press to squeeze 15ml lime juice (you can use your measure again to ensure you get the right amount.
Fill your glass with cubed ice – nice big ice cubes are best as they will melt slower than smaller ones. Make sure to get as much ice in the glass as you can – more ice will allow the drink to cool faster and also stops us from pouring too much Coke.
Rum, lime and ice in the glass means it’s time for the Coke. Fill the glass with Coke to the top, but leave a small amount of room so that you can actually pick the glass up and move it around without spilling your cocktail.
Finish the Cuba Libre by cutting a nice wedge of lime and dropping it into the glass, and feel free to add a straw if you feel like it.
Variations to Try
Since you already have the ingredients a good little experiment is to make a Rum and Coke (Cuba Libra without fresh lime) and try the two drinks next to each other. What you should notice is that the addition of the sour citric acid from the lime juice in the Cuba Libra has offset the sweetness of the Coca Cola and helped even out the flavour, or balance, when compared to the rum and Coke.
The next easy variation to try is changing up the rum. Cuban rums tend to be very light in style so if you swap it out for something darker (Mount Gay, Appletons or even darker with something like Goslings Black Seal) you’re going to end up with a heavier, ‘richer’ flavour. You could also try using a spiced rum (Sailor Jerrys, Kraken, Captain Morgan’s Spiced), depending on which brand you use you can get some strong vanilla, citrus and cinnamon style flavours coming through.
Let me know what combinations you try and how they work out by leaving a comment below or posting on the facebook page.