Cuba libre or long island iced tea alcohol cocktail drink

Fascinating Facts About Cuba Libre

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The Cuba Libre is a classic cocktail that has stood the test of time. It’s refreshing, simple, and has a rich history that’s as interesting as the drink itself. In this article, we’ll explore the fascinating facts about the Cuba Libre, from its origins to its cultural significance.


The Cuba Libre, also known as the rum and Coke, is a cocktail that’s made with rum, Coca-Cola, and a squeeze of lime juice. It’s a simple drink that’s easy to make, but it has a complex history that’s full of intrigue and adventure. The Cuba Libre is more than just a drink; it’s a symbol of rebellion, freedom, and the spirit of Cuba.

Origins of the Cuba Libre

The exact origins of the Cuba Libre are a bit murky, but most historians agree that it was invented in Havana, Cuba, sometime around the turn of the 20th century. According to one popular story, the drink was created by a group of American soldiers who were stationed in Cuba during the Spanish-American War. They mixed rum, Coca-Cola, and lime juice to create a refreshing drink that helped them cool off in the hot Cuban sun.

Another story claims that the drink was invented by a bartender named Fausto Rodriguez at the famous El Floridita bar in Havana. Rodriguez reportedly created the drink for an American soldier who asked for a rum and Coke with a twist of lime. Regardless of who created it, the Cuba Libre quickly became a popular drink in Cuba and soon spread to other parts of the world.

Fresh made Cuba Libre

The Cuba Libre and Coca-Cola

The Cuba Libre is closely associated with Coca-Cola, but it wasn’t always that way. When the drink was first invented, it was made with a local brand of cola called TuKola. However, when Coca-Cola arrived in Cuba in 1900, it quickly became the preferred choice of cola for the drink.

Coca-Cola played a significant role in the popularization of the Cuba Libre. The company’s advertising campaigns in the 1920s and 1930s helped to spread the drink’s popularity throughout the world. Coca-Cola even created a special advertising campaign in the 1940s that featured the Cuba Libre as the “drink of freedom” for the people of Cuba.

The Cuba Libre and Ernest Hemingway

One of the most famous fans of the Cuba Libre was the American writer Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway spent many years living in Cuba, and he was a regular at the El Floridita bar, where he would often order a Cuba Libre. Hemingway’s love for the drink helped to cement its reputation as a classic cocktail.

Hemingway even included the Cuba Libre in his writing. In his novel “Islands in the Stream,” one of the characters orders a Cuba Libre and describes it as “the proper drink” for the hot Cuban weather. Hemingway’s endorsement of the drink helped to make it a popular choice among writers and intellectuals in the mid-20th century.

The Cuba Libre Today

Glass of Cuba Libre cocktail, close up

Today, the Cuba Libre is still a popular drink in Cuba and around the world. It’s a simple cocktail that’s easy to make, but it has a rich history that makes it much more than just a drink. The Cuba Libre is a symbol of rebellion, freedom, and the spirit of Cuba.

In recent years, there has been a resurgence of interest in classic cocktails, and the Cuba Libre is no exception. Bartenders are experimenting with different types of rum and lime juice to create new and exciting versions of the drink. Some are even using local ingredients like sugarcane juice and fresh herbs to give the drink a unique twist.


The Cuba Libre is a classic cocktail that has stood the test of time. Its origins may be murky, but its cultural significance is clear. The Cuba Libre is a symbol of rebellion, freedom, and the spirit of Cuba. Whether you’re sipping it on a hot day in Havana or enjoying it at a cocktail bar in New York City, the Cuba Libre is a drink that’s sure to please.

In conclusion, the Cuba Libre is more than just a drink. It’s a piece of history that tells the story of Cuba’s struggle for independence and its enduring spirit. The next time you order a Cuba Libre, take a moment to appreciate its rich history and the people who helped to make it a classic. Cheers!

Fun Facts About the Cuba Libre

  • The Cuba Libre is sometimes called the “Rum and Coke” or the “Mentirita” (which means “little lie” in Spanish)
  • The drink was originally served in a highball glass, but today it’s often served in a Collins glass
  • The Cuba Libre is the national drink of Cuba
  • The lime juice in the Cuba Libre helps to balance out the sweetness of the Coca-Cola and the rum
  • The Cuba Libre is a popular drink in other parts of Latin America, including Mexico and Puerto Rico
  • The drink is often garnished with a lime wedge or a slice of lime
  • There are many variations of the Cuba Libre, including the “Cuba Libre Light” which is made with diet Coke, and the “Cubata” which is made with lemon juice instead of lime juice.

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