If you are new to preparing mixed drinks, then the Cuba Libre is probably one of the easiest ones to learn. A Cuba Libre, which sounds fancy, is just a standard Rum & Coke with a garnish of lime. You can order it by either name, Rum & Coke is typically how you order it here in the U.S.

The history of the Cuba Libre originates in the early 1900’s and some say it was a drink enjoyed by those who were attempting to “Free Cuba” (the Spanish translation) during the American occupation after the  Spanish-American war. Rumors say it was possibly Teddy Roosevelt, others simply state it as a “John Doe” at the bar, who ordered this drink and first exclaimed “Cuba Libre!” Rum originated in the 17th century from sugar plantations in the Caribbean. Like so many good things, it was discovered by accident when molasses had fermented. Around 200 years later, rum gets mixed with cola and a popular, simple drink is born. So every time you drink a Rum & Coke you are celebrating independence, a new twist perhaps for your next celebration. Here are some variations on the Cuba Libre and a few tips from Most Imaginative Bartender winner Dan Lam Hamm of 1 Tippling Place in Philadelphia.

Cuba Libre Recipe

Use a tall glass or long glass

1 part rum 2 parts cola

Wedge of lime

Cubed ice goes in the glass first, then drop in your lime and be sure to coat the ice cubes with the juices as it enhances the drink. Next add your rum, and then top with the cola. Stir gently.

Variations Of The Cuba Libre

Variations exist which vary the strength of the rum or the amount of soda; one example is the Cuba Campechana (translated means Half-and-Half Cuba) which uses one part club soda in addition to the one part rum and two parts cola. The Witch Doctor uses Dr. Pepper instead of Cola. A Hot Cuba Libre uses a splash of hot sauce. If you were to order this in Mexico, you simply ask for a Cuba. A Cuba Libre can also be served with a light rum if you don’t care for dark rum.

Related: Top Mojitos In Philadelphia

Options For The Serving Glass

Though a Cuba Libre is typically served in a tall or long glass, if served on the rocks it will be for someone who prefers more rum than cola. The garnish of lime, which is the most authentic way to have a Cuba Libre, can be omitted. Dan Lam Hamm has used a champagne coupe glass when serving a Cuba Libre to add a little more class. He also mixes the rum and cola (he prefers Coca-Cola) in a shaker first, and then uses a strainer when pouring into the glass.

Cuba Libre Restaurant And Bar
10 S. 2nd St.
Philadelphia, PA. 19106

If you want to up the experience of having an authentic Cuba Libre, then head over to the restaurant in center city with of the same name. This is an authentic Cuban restaurant where you can not only enjoy a wide variety of rum and Cuban food but also Salsa dancing. This may be just what you need to work off all that sugar.

Related: Top All you Can Drink Specials in Philadelphia

Christina Dagnelli is a freelance writer in Philadelphia and the author of Little Squares with Colors: A Different way to look at autism. Her work on examiner can be found here Examiner.com.