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Monday, August 17, 2009

The Cuba Libre

While studying up on Highballs I found another drink that I had not yet tried in this cocktail family - The Cuba Libre.

According to Bacardi and other sources, the Cuba Libre was invented in Cuba in 1900. It was after the Spanish-American war where Cuba gained its independence from Spain in 1898. Teddy Roosevelet and the Rough Riders were in Cuba during this time along with a large number of Americans. Coca-Cola had just arrived in Cuba, and a young American soldier ordered a shot of rum, a Coca-Cola, and a wedge of lime. He mixed the 3 and it became an instant hit across Cuba. The locals gave it the name after the recent battle cry across the country - Free Cuba! By the 1940s it was very common in the Unied States and inspired an Andrews Sisters song "Rum and Coca-Cola".

Of course, in the States this cocktail is usually referred to as a "Rum and Coke".

I took the opportunity to try some new dishes last night to go with the Cuba Libres. The Sullivans, Lirettes, and Joshua and Sarah joined us for some Cuban food. Most didn't partake of the Cuba Libre - but I did. And it was good.

I made Ropa Vieja (a shredded beef dish with tomatoes, spices, and lots of herbs), moros y cristianos (black beans with peppers and white rice), and grilled Cuban corn. I thought it was all really good. David said he'd love to have the beef as often as I want to make it. The boys would love the black beans and rice as well. Always great when new recipes work out as the guests are arriving!

David's Swizzle Stick Ratings -
Cuba Libre - David stuck to his beer last night, but I give it 5 swizzle sticks. Coke, Rum, and Lime - how can you go wrong?

The Cuba Libre - 1 cup Coke, 1/2 cup dark Rum, squeeze of lime juice. Pour over ice in a Highball cocktail glass and garnish with lime.

Variations -
A "Coppertone" is made with Malibu Rum (rum with coconut oil) and Cherry Coke. It smells like suntan lotion.
A "Cuban Missile Crisis" is made with Bacardi 151 instead of regular Rum.
A "Hot Cuba Libre" is popular in the West Indies and includes a shot of Caribbean hot sauce like Matouk's.
A "Midas" is made with Cream Soda and spiced Rum which creates a bright gold drink.

I'll stick to the original, thanks!