August 16, 2013 – National Rum Day
Today, of all days, we must try to set the record straight.
There is a current television commercial for a particular brand of rum that tells of how the Cuba Libre was first invented. The commercial purports an American solider brought Coke to the island of Cuba. A beautiful Cuban girl pours Bacardi into the bottle. Thrusting the bottle back into the hand of the soldier, she proclaims “Cuba Libre!”
This gives the impression, to anyone familiar with the island’s history, that the drink was created during the Spanish-American war.
It’s a nice story, but, um, there are a few problems with it.
The island didn’t see a Coke until 1900. Roosevelt’s troops left in 1898.
No one knows for certain how the drink came to be, but the one thing (for me) is the lime. A rum and coke, is a rum and coke, is a rum and coke. But, the difference is the lime.
The proper recipe -
1 part rum
2 parts soda
The juice from 1 wedge of a Key Lime
The Key Lime is non-negotiable. If you use a Persian lime, it is not a Cuba Libre. Persian Limes have a tart flavor, where key limes are almost sweet. It is a perfect compliment to a wonderful drink. It’s what makes the rum and coke a Cuba Libre.
So, raise a toast to a Free Cuba!