Rum and Coke. A Cuba Libre. What’s the difference between these two basic AF drinks? Is there any difference? The simple answer is YES. The key ingredient distinguishing these two classics from one another is lime juice. The Cuba Libre, a cocktail originating in Cuba (obviously), includes a shot of rum, a splash of Coke and a squirt of fresh lime juice. The lime juice helps reduce the beverage’s sweetness while boosting it’s tartness.
The Cuba Libre, translated as “Free Cuba”, became popular on the Caribbean island in the early 20th century after the country won its independence in the Spanish-American War. With Spain out of the picture, American companies began exporting their goods to the island and Coca-Cola was one of those businesses. They began shipping their product to the island in 1902 and the rest is history. Over a hundred years later, tourists and locals alike are still slamming these things down from Havana to Trinidad.
And while proportions of rum, coke and lime juice vary from place to place, the International Bartenders Association recipe calls for 5 centiliters of light rum, 12 centiliters of cola, and 1 centiliters of fresh lime juice on ice. So the next time you’re in a bar and order a rum and coke with a splash lime, just order a Cuba Libre.