What do you think of when you think of Cuba? I think for most Americans it’s old cars, beautiful beaches, colonial architecture, and a mysterious flow of energy, dance, music, and life that seems to be lacking in here in the U.S. I would argue that this idea misses some of the complexity of Cuban life and the history of the island. Take one of the most popular and famous cocktails to emerge from Cuba, the Cuba Libre.
The delicious combination of rum and cola, a combination found on most islands in the Caribbean has a following internationally as well. It’s a simple, easy-to-execute drink, but the name itself shows a deeper history and ideal. A drink associated with parties and fun by all has a strange name, Cuba Libre translated means “Free Cuba”.
I had often, when I drank these as a young and boisterous college student, wondered whether the name came from pre-revolutionary Cuba or post-revolutionary Cuba, which would have been a strong statement against U.S. imperialism. I learned later that this drink emerged before the Revolution in 1959, and more than a half century earlier, with the Cuban War for Independence in the late 19th and early 20th century.
If you believe Habana Club’s recount of the tale of the Cuba Libre emergence, you can conjure up turn of the century Americans and Cuban anti (Spanish)-colonials shouting “Por Cuba Libre” in a seedy bar in Havana under the cover of night, avoiding Spanish forces. Whatever it is, is tells the tale of a Cuba constantly and forever caught up in its freedom and independence, a people savoring and seeking freedom, even with their cocktails.
Have a wonderful weekend!
Notes: Like any cocktail, feel free to add more or less liquor to your liking. Enjoy!
-4-6 oz Cola Soda
-2 oz White Rum
-Sliced limes for garnish or oranges if you happen to run out of limes
-Tom Collins or other tall glass
1. Pour ice in your glass
2. Pour rum over ice.
3. Pour coke over rum.
4. Stir the contents of the glass to disperse the coldness of the ice.