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Cuba Libre Recipe

Cuba Libre Recipe

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1 rating

March 17, 2014


Jess Novak


A classic combination, perfect for warming weather.

Read about our 10 Famous Coca-Cola Myths.




Calories Per Serving

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  • 2 Ounces rum
  • Juice from ¼ lime
  • Juice from ¼ lime


Combine rum and lime juice in a tall glass filled partway with ice. Top with Coca-Cola and stir gently. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Nutritional Facts


Calories Per Serving141




Vitamin A0.7µg0.1%

Vitamin C10mg16%

Vitamin K0.2µg0.3%



Folate (food)3µgN/A

Folate equivalent (total)3µg1%






Have a question about the nutrition data? Let us know.


How to Make a Cuba Libre

A Cuba Libre is a rum and Coke with lime. Only the rum and Coke lacks a certain something&mdashbesides the lime. A rum and Coke is the order that you, 21 years and one hour old, stammered at the bartender because you were finally out from underneath the thumbs of the mom who only let you drink caffeine-free pop and the ruthless ID-checking bouncers. And because it was the only "cocktail" you knew by name.

Those are the days best left to yore.

The Cuba Libre is superior in that the addition of citrus acts like the bridge between the sweetness of the cola and the rum. And the spent lime shell brings in a bit of bitterness, as well as visual interest&mdashit makes it look like a proper cocktail. But more than that, the drink comes with a heap of history and a fighting spirit. It's that certain something that you ought to know all about if you're going to make a Cuba Libre yourself.

A Little Background

Cuba libre! was the rallying cry of Cuban revolutionists against Spanish rule at the tail-end of the 19th century. It was enough to spark the interest of interventionists here in the U.S., who stomped in on behalf of Cuban freedom from European colonial rule and started the Spanish-American War&mdashthe one with the yellow fever, the yellow journalism, and Teddy Roosevelt's Rough Riders. Spain was vanquished. and the United States happily inserted itself into the role of foreign power-holder on the island. You know how well that went. So well that Cuban rum is still forbidden from being sold in America.

Hidden in this history lesson is the origin story of the Cuba Libre cocktail. After the Spanish hightailed it back across the Atlantic, Americans filtered into Cuba, including Coca-Cola in 1900, which was then mixed with Cuban rum and finished with lime&mdashlikely inspired by a drink Cuban revolutionaries had drunk before the U.S. got involved. Technically, you could go to Cuba, return with some rum, and make the cocktail as faithfully as possible. The only bummer is, back in 1900, Coca-Cola still had trace amounts of hard drugs in it, so your version won't be exactly historically accurate.

If You Like This, Try These

A Cuba Libre is a highball cocktail, and there are plenty more ways to mix up one of those, since it is at its core liquor and fizz. As for other Cuban cocktails calling for Cuban rum, try your hand at the Mojito or the Daiquiri.

What is Picadillo?

Picadillo (pronounced pi-kuh-di-low) is a Latin American dish made of ground (or finely chopped) meat, tomatoes or tomato sauce, and other ingredients that vary according to region.

The name comes from the Spanish word “picar”, which means “to chop”.

The origins of the dish are unknown, since it is quite popular in many countries across Latin America and also the Philippines.

One of the theories I’ve found while researching claims that the first time it was served was in Mexico, in 1821, when a version made with spicy pork and walnut sauce was served inside a poblano pepper to the new emperor of Mexico.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not denying that actually happened. But due to the simplicity of the dish, I have a feeling Latin Americans had been making picadillo way before it was served to the Mexican emperor.

That being said, today’s focus is all on the Cuban version of this delicious dish, which happens to be my favorite!

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 5 M
  • 5 M
  • Serves 1

Ingredients US Metric

  • 1 cup Ice cubes
  • 1 1/2 ounces excellent quality light, gold, or dark rum
  • Juice of 1/2 lime (about 1 tablespoon)
  • 5 ounces Coca-Cola
  • Lime wedge, for garnish


Fill a highball glass with ice. Pour in the rum and lime juice, top off with Coca-Cola, and garnish with the wedge of lime. Sit back, sigh, and partake.

Recipe Testers' Reviews

Rosie Coelho

This Cuba Libre takes me back to our trip to Cuba. So good! I tried this recipe with the two different rums that I had on-hand: Havana Club 3-year and Havana Club 7-year. Both were delicious but the 7-year added a fuller, more robust flavor that we preferred. The lime was a large, juicy lime and it produced quite a bit of juice for half a lime. We used the whole amount but found the lime flavor to be a bit overpowering so to balance out the flavor we added a bit more rum and Coke and it was better balanced and perfect. A very refreshing cocktail.

Irene Seales

Altering one ingredient transforms a rum and cola into a proper drink—the magic lime changes the sip into a refreshing one with the right balance. It takes 5 minutes to assemble your barware and serve. No advance fancy syrup to make and decant, just wash your lime and go! Having recently had rum and cola with just a wedge of lime, I was really surprised how the actual juicing of lime made the cola into something more pleasing and also less sweet. I like a long drink with substance and rum can provide that. You could play with darker rums in your Cuba Libre, but this is actually a really nice use of a lighter rum. I used Flor de Caña rum and a bottle of Mexican Coca-Cola I had tucked away for just such a drink. You could make this an even longer drink with a taller highball glass. Mine was a 12-ounce glass, so filled with ice, the rum and lime, took 5 oz. to top off and seemed perfect. The extra garnish of lime wedge is a nice visual reminder.

Nicole C.

This Cuba Libre is a refreshing cocktail that's a fresh take on a rum and Coke! It's easy to adjust to the taster's preference, which meant I made sure I got a full tablespoon of lime juice to 1/2 cup Coke and 1 1/2 ounces light rum. My husband preferred less lime and more Coke so I made his with a scant tablespoon of lime, 1 cup Coke, and 1 1/2 ounces light rum. I think mine was better!


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Cuba Libre

Cuba Libre, two words that resonate like a cry for all Cubans. This cocktail is more than a century old, it symbolizes the loss of the island of Cuba by the Spanish Empire, which starts the last years of its undisputed reign on the world and on the seas, which began 4 centuries earlier in 1492 thanks to the discovery of the region by Christopher Columbus.

It also marks the end of the Cuban War of Independence that raged on the island between 1895 and 1898. This war opposed the Cuban liberation army (Ejército Libertador Cubano) led by the famous Simón Bolívar and assisted by the army of United States of America to the troops of the Spanish colonial empire of King Alfonso XIII. This war was the last Cuban uprising against the Spaniards.

The American soldiers then stationed in the capital of Havana used to consume local rum with lime and Coca-Cola, a relatively recent drink as it was invented in Bay City, Michigan a few years earlier in 1886 by the pharmacist John Pemberton.

What is the origin of Coca-Cola?

It was indeed at the end of the Civil War that veteran John Pemberton began to seek a solution to his addiction to morphine contracted after many pains and wounds of war. He then looked for a drink that could help him to gradually overcome his addiction.

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This is how he discovered the invention of a Corsican pharmacist Angelo Mariani installed in Atlanta, the French Wine Coca, a mixture of Bordeaux wine and coca leaf.

After the Atlanta Mayor’s referendum of November 25, 1885, on the banning of alcohol, John Pemberton developed a version of the alcohol-free French Wine Coca that marked the beginning of a business empire now known and appreciated all around the world.

What is the history of Cuba Libre?

With a dazzling success, Coca-Cola quickly became essential on all American tables and more particularly among soldiers, who used to drink it with their ration of whiskey. They adapted this mixed drink to Cuba by replacing the whiskey with rum produced on the island.

The drink was prepared directly in a whiskey glass and legend has it that the phrase comes from an American soldier who ordered the cocktail and would have made a toast “Por Cuba Libre!” This sentence was known as a leitmotif among US troops.

However, the name of Cuba Libre would be older since a water and brown sugar based drink bearing the same name had already been known on the island for a few years.

Fausto Rodriguez, advertising manager for the Bacardi company, however, claimed to be present on the day of the creation of the cocktail. He was 14 years old at the time and worked for the signal corps of the US Army in Havana.

However, it was not until the American prohibition era in the 1920s that this cocktail became a real success. Cuba, then the backbone of the American mafia’s smuggling, became the main importer of illegal alcohol to the United States, and Cuba Libre became one of the most popular cocktails.

In 1945, the famous group The Andrews Sisters had huge success with their cover of the calypso song “Rum and Coca-Cola” written by Lord Invader. Later, with the Americans landing on the beaches of Normandy on June 6, 1944, the Cuba Libre started to become popular in Europe.

With the Cuban revolution of 1959 and the embargo imposed on Cuba by the Americans, making Cuba Libre became impossible as you could not find the two main ingredients in both countries at the same time. The importation of Bacardi was prohibited on one side and the Coca-Cola on the other.

Today, the recipe is precisely codified as are most cocktails. It uses rum, usually Havana Club or Bacardi Gold, Coca-Cola, squeezed lime and ice cubes. According to Anthony Dias Blue, author of The Complete Book of Spirits (2004), Cuba Libre once contained a dose of gin, but this is no longer the case today.

Nowadays, every tourist who visits Cuba drinks Cuba Libre and if for them, this drink no longer represents the victory of Cubans over the Spanish, it nonetheless symbolizes festivities and pleasure.

Cuba Libre is believed to be the second most consumed alcoholic beverage in the world, its popularity is probably due to the low cost of the main ingredients and the simplicity of its preparation.

Cuba Libre


Garnish: lime wheel or slice

  1. In a Collins glass, add rum and squeeze in lime halves.
  2. Add ice and top with Coca-Cola.
  3. Stir gently to combine.
  4. Garnish with a lime wheel or slice.

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Drink in History: Cuba Libre

It can be found anywhere, from inside the plastic cups of college students to the local bar to high-end fancy resorts. It’s refreshing, it’s delicious, and it’s simple to make.

According to Bacardi Brand Master, David Cid, the Cuba Libre’s simple recipe is what makes it one of the most served cocktails in the world. The history mixed into this beloved cocktail also gives it character. “Created in Cuba following the Spanish-American War, it embodies a spirit of camaraderie and freedom,” Cid said.

Though it’s loved worldwide by people of all ages, the story behind this famous cocktail’s origin tends to get a little murky. Most accounts, including Cid’s, of the creation of the Cuba Libre, agree that it dates back to Havana around 1900, after the Spanish-American War, which began and ended in 1898 and led to Cuban independence. The name of the drink, Cuba Libre, means “Free Cuba,” which was the battle cry of the Cuban Liberation Army.

But, another well-known story recalls that during the Spanish-American War, a group of off-duty U.S. soldiers went out for some drinks in a bar in Old Havana. Supposedly, a captain ordered rum and cola on ice with lime and enjoyed it so much that he got the other soldiers to order around and they toasted, “Por Cuba Libre!” to celebrate the freedom of Cuba.

To break it down, the origin of the Cuba Libre is a bit of a mystery because the Spanish-American War ended in 1898, and it’s believed that Coca-Cola wasn’t available in Cuba until 1900. No question about it, this drink was first sipped in Cuba, but exactly when that was is best debated over a round of Cuba Libres.

Since its discovery, many ways to mix this favored cocktail have been experimented with. Some use white rum, others go darker. Some recipes call for Coca-Cola while others go for RC Cola or natural colas. No matter your choice of rum or cola, the brilliant and simple combination known as the Cuba Libre is so well-liked that it’s said to be one of the most popular drinks in the world. “It’s a true crowd favorite, even more than a century later,” said Cid.

Now that’s something to toast to.

Old Fashioned Cuba Libre


  • ▢ 2 oz aged rum
  • ▢ 1/2 oz Cointreau
  • ▢ 4 oz Mexican Coca-Cola
  • ▢ 1 lime wedge , muddled
  • ▢ 1 dash Cherry Bark Bitters
  • ▢ Garnish with a lime slice and cherry


Making this Recipe Tag us on Instagram at and hashtag it #umami_site

Mark Hinds

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Cuisine: Cuban|Latin| Technique: Mixology
Misc: Cocktails|Drinks | Drink Recipes|Recipes

Where to Drink a Cuba Libre in Cuba?

Due to the American embargo on Cuba, Coca-Cola is banned in Cuba.

And that is a good thing.

Over the years American Coca-Cola started using corn syrup instead of sugar in its products, which just doesn’t taste as good.

Instead, you can find the Mexican version of Coca Cola in Cuba, which still uses sugar. Just ask for Tukola, the national Cuban cola.

Pair it with tasty Cuban food and you have a great meal.

Cuba Libre

Created around the turn of the century (1902), this classic Cuban drink &mdash the Cuba Libre &mdash uses simple ingredients.

The history behind the Cuba Libre is said to celebrate the end of the Cuban War of Independence. A US soldier, Captain Russell, ordered a rum and Coke® with a twist of lime. When onlookers asked about the drink&rsquos name, the Captain proposed a toast, &ldquoPor Cuba Libre&rdquo (For a free Cuba), and the original Cuba Libre was born.

The drink is a now simple one but at the turn of the century (1902) when it&rsquos said this drink was created, it once considered to be pretty exotic. These were the perfect accompaniment to our Cuban Themed Party we threw earlier this month.

Watch the video: Enjoy a BACARDI Cuba Libre Cocktail (December 2021).