There is an iconic line from the movie “Cocktail” that is wildly revered by bartenders and the bar community in general. Tom Cruise ( Every inch of his 4′ 11″ frame more adorable than the next ) is getting waxed on a Friday night service bar shift when a surly waitress screams out,” I need a Cuba Libre!”. Poor Tom thumbs ( short joke #2 ) wildly through a bar guide only to look up and say,” Why didn’t you tell me a Cuba Libre was a rum and coke with a lime, you bitch!”. This explains the love and hate relationship tied up between a bartender and his Cuba Libre. Here is some history about our old friend, who turns 110 this year- courtesy of Bacardi.
BACARDI Rum, the world’s favorite and best-selling premium rum, celebrates the 110th anniversary of the creation of the Original Cuba Libre. With its refreshing combination of BACARDI Rum and the American classic Coca-Cola™ and rich historical ties to Cuba, this legendary drink has withstood the test of time and continues to be enjoyed by millions of consumers internationally.
The origins of the Original Cuba Libre trace back to Cuba’s War for Independence in 1898, when Colonel Theodore Roosevelt and his regiment, known as the Rough Riders, along with large droves of Americans arrived in Cuba. American troops introduced Coca-Cola™ to Cuba, and it soon became a popular choice for Cubans and Americans alike.
In August 1900, while celebrating victory at the American Bar in Havana, Cuba, Captain Russell of the United States Army Signal Corps, ordered his Cuban BACARDI Rum and Coke®, served with a wedge of fresh lime. This new combination sparked interest from the soldiers around him and soon the entire bar was drinking one. The Captain proposed a toast, “¡Por Cuba libre!” in celebration of a free Cuba. The words Cuba Libre – meaning Free Cuba – had a special political significance, and were frequently used by Cubans and Americans alike. It seemed quite natural that the American soldiers selected and applied this popular slogan to this drink, which they considered indigenous to Cuba, consisting of BACARDI Rum and Coca-Cola™. The name caught on quickly, and has remained popular to this day.
“More than 80 billion BACARDI Cuba Libre cocktails have been served since 1900, and close to 6,000,000 are consumed every day around the world,” said Eugenio Mendez, Global Category Director – Rums for Bacardi. “The fact that the Cuba Libre cocktail continues to gain popularity after more than 100 years speaks to the exceptional quality and great taste BACARDI adds to this iconic drink.”
Original Cuba Libre
2 parts BACARDI Rum
4 parts Coca-Cola™
2 lime wedges
Fill a highball glass with cubed ice. Squeeze and drop a fresh lime wedge into the glass. Pour in BACARDI Rum and top with chilled Coca-Cola™, ideally bottled. Stir gently.