Cuba Libre Cocktail Drink

Cuba Libre

A shot of Gavin Wrigley looking to the camera in a dimly lit room
Written by Gavin Wrigley
Andrea
Tested by
Andrea Ottaiano

If you want to make a time-honored cocktail, this Cuba Libre recipe has all the ingredients for an exceptional drink. It’s simple to make and offers a balanced blend of flavors that never disappoints.

Cuba Libre Cocktail Recipe

Sip into summer with this effortless Cuba Libre recipe! This classic cocktail is your ticket to instant relaxation, made with rum, cola, and a splash of lime.

Prep time:

1 minute

Mixing time:

1 minute

Servings:

1

Calories:

176 kl

Ingredients

  • 2 oz Rum
  • 4 oz Cola
  • ½ oz lime juice
  • Ice cubes
  • Lime wedge, for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Highball Glass
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Bar spoon

Instructions

  • Prep Glass: Fill your highball glass with ice cubes.
  • Add Lime: Measure and pour ½ oz lime juice juice over the ice.
  • Add Rum: Pour 2 oz Rum into the glass.
  • Add Cola: Fill up the glass with approximately 4 oz Cola into the glass.
  • Stir: Using a bar spoon, gently stir the cocktail.
  • Garnish: Squeeze and drop a lime wedge into the glass for garnish.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Rum: I've used whiskey as a substitute if I run out of rum. It changes the flavor profile but still pairs well with cola and lime.
  • Cola: I've used ginger ale or lemon-lime soda in a pinch. The taste is different but still refreshing.
  • Lime: Bottled lime juice can work if fresh limes aren't available. Just be cautious with the amount; it's often more concentrated.

Making a Pitcher:

  • Scale: To make a pitcher that serves 8, multiply all the ingredients by 8. That would be 16 oz of rum, 32 oz of cola, and 4 oz of lime juice.
  • Mix: In a large pitcher, combine the rum, freshly squeezed lime juice, and cola. Stir well.
  • Serve: Pour the mixture into ice-filled highball glasses, garnish with a lime wedge, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Rum Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic rum substitute or even coconut water for a tropical twist.
  • Proceed As Usual: Use these non-alcoholic substitutes instead of the regular ingredients, follow the original steps, and enjoy a non-alcoholic version of the cocktail.

Making it Vegan:

  • Cola: Most mainstream colas are already vegan, but it's always good to check the label for any animal-derived ingredients.
  • Lime: No issues here; lime is naturally vegan.
  • Rum: Most rums are vegan, but some premium rums might use animal-derived products in their filtration process. Always check the label or the manufacturer's website to be sure.

Nutrition Facts

Calories
176
% Daily Value*
Fat
 
0.03
g
0
%
Sodium
 
5
mg
0
%
Carbohydrates
 
12
g
4
%
Fiber
 
0.1
g
0
%
Sugar
 
10
g
11
%
Potassium
 
20
mg
1
%
Protein
 
0.1
g
0
%
Vitamin A
 
7
IU
0
%
Vitamin C
 
4
mg
5
%
Calcium
 
4
mg
0
%
Iron
 
0.1
mg
1
%

 

Cuba Libre Cocktail Drink

Cuba Libre Cocktail Recipe

Gavin Wrigley Written by Gavin Wrigley
Jump to Video
Sip into summer with this effortless Cuba Libre recipe! This classic cocktail is your ticket to instant relaxation, made with rum, cola, and a splash of lime.
Prep time: 1 minute
Mixing time: 1 minute
Servings: 1
Calories: 176

Ingredients
 

  • 2 oz Rum
  • 4 oz Cola
  • ½ oz lime juice
  • Ice cubes
  • Lime wedge - for garnish, optional

Equipment

  • Highball Glass
  • Measuring Jigger
  • Bar spoon

Instructions

  • Prep Glass: Fill your highball glass with ice cubes.
  • Add Lime: Measure and pour ½ oz lime juice juice over the ice.
  • Add Rum: Pour 2 oz Rum into the glass.
  • Add Cola: Fill up the glass with approximately 4 oz Cola into the glass.
  • Stir: Using a bar spoon, gently stir the cocktail.
  • Garnish: Squeeze and drop a lime wedge into the glass for garnish.

Notes

Substitutes:

  • Rum: I've used whiskey as a substitute if I run out of rum. It changes the flavor profile but still pairs well with cola and lime.
  • Cola: I've used ginger ale or lemon-lime soda in a pinch. The taste is different but still refreshing.
  • Lime: Bottled lime juice can work if fresh limes aren't available. Just be cautious with the amount; it's often more concentrated.

Making a Pitcher:

  • Scale: To make a pitcher that serves 8, multiply all the ingredients by 8. That would be 16 oz of rum, 32 oz of cola, and 4 oz of lime juice.
  • Mix: In a large pitcher, combine the rum, freshly squeezed lime juice, and cola. Stir well.
  • Serve: Pour the mixture into ice-filled highball glasses, garnish with a lime wedge, and serve immediately.

Making it Non-Alcoholic:

  • Rum Substitute: Use a non-alcoholic rum substitute or even coconut water for a tropical twist.
  • Proceed As Usual: Use these non-alcoholic substitutes instead of the regular ingredients, follow the original steps, and enjoy a non-alcoholic version of the cocktail.

Making it Vegan:

  • Cola: Most mainstream colas are already vegan, but it's always good to check the label for any animal-derived ingredients.
  • Lime: No issues here; lime is naturally vegan.
  • Rum: Most rums are vegan, but some premium rums might use animal-derived products in their filtration process. Always check the label or the manufacturer's website to be sure.

What is a Cuba Libre?

A Cuba Libre cocktail combines cola, lime, and rum. “Cuba Libre” translates to “Free Cuba,” a nod to its historical roots tied to Cuban independence. It is noteworthy that the International Bartender Association (IBA) actively recognizes the cocktail as a ‘Contemporary Classic’.

A side shot of a Cuba Libre cocktail in a highball glass with two half limes on the side and a basket with limes on the background.

What is a Cuba Libre Made of – The Ingredients

You need the following ingredients to make a Cuba Libre:

  • Rum: Provides the alcoholic base and adds a touch of tropical sweetness.
  • Cola: Offers effervescence and a caramel-like sweetness that balances the rum.
  • Lime: Injects a burst of citrus, brightening the drink and cutting through the sweetness.
  • Ice Cubes: Keep the cocktail chilled, enhancing its refreshing qualities.
  • Lime Wedge (optional for garnish): Adds a visual element and a hint of citrus when squeezed.

Rum, cola and limes laid out on a white bar table.

How do you make a Cuba Libre?

Let us show you the steps for a perfect Cuba Libre:

1
<p>Fill your highball glass with ice cubes to prepare it for the cocktail.</p>

Fill your highball glass with ice cubes to prepare it for the cocktail.

2
<p>Cut a lime in half and squeeze it to reach ½ oz of liquid and pour it into the glass, adding a citrusy kick.</p>

Cut a lime in half and squeeze it to reach ½ oz of liquid and pour it into the glass, adding a citrusy kick.

3
<p>Pour 2 oz of rum over the ice, serving as the alcoholic foundation of your drink.</p>

Pour 2 oz of rum over the ice, serving as the alcoholic foundation of your drink.

4
<p>Fill up your glass with 4 oz of cola balancing the rum and lime with its sweetness and effervescence.</p>

Fill up your glass with 4 oz of cola balancing the rum and lime with its sweetness and effervescence.

5
<p>Stir your cocktail using a bar spoon, ensuring a well-mixed drink.</p>

Stir your cocktail using a bar spoon, ensuring a well-mixed drink.

6
<p>Garnish the glass with a lime wedge, offering a visual cue and an optional extra burst of citrus.</p>

Garnish the glass with a lime wedge, offering a visual cue and an optional extra burst of citrus.

7
<p>Enjoy your drink immediately, appreciating the harmony of its simple yet effective ingredients.</p>

Enjoy your drink immediately, appreciating the harmony of its simple yet effective ingredients.

What is the difference between Cuba Libre and a Rum and Coke?

A Cuba Libre and a Rum and Coke may seem identical, but lime juice’s a key difference. A Cuba Libre includes the juice of half a lime, adding a citrusy brightness that elevates the drink. This simple addition transforms the flavor profile, making it more complex and balanced. On the other hand, a Rum and Coke sticks to just rum and cola, skipping the lime altogether. 

Virgin Cuba Libre

The Virgin Cuba Libre is a straightforward, non-alcoholic take on the classic. Instead of rum, you can use coconut water or a non-alcoholic rum substitute to mimic the tropical sweetness. Add your cola of choice and a splash of lime juice for that signature citrus kick. Stir it all together over ice, and you’ve got a refreshing drink that keeps the spirit of the original alive.

Cuban Drink Tequila – La Batanga

La Batanga is another intriguing take on the classic Cuba Libre, but with a unique twist: Rum is replaced with Tequila. Originating from Tequila, Mexico, this drink typically uses Mexican Coke, which is sweetened with cane sugar rather than high-fructose corn syrup.

A side shot of a Cuba Libre cocktail in a highball glass on a table with a geen plant behind

Variations on the Cuba Libre

Want to try a different style? Here are some of our recommendations:

  • Coconut Libre: Utilizes coconut rum, infusing tropical vibes into each sip.
  • Nica Libre: A Nica Libre is a variation of the Cuba Libre that uses Flor de Caña rum from Nicaragua instead of traditional Cuban rum.
  • Mentirita: This blend of cola and lime resembles its more famous counterpart but omits the rum. Its non-alcoholic nature makes it a go-to for those who avoid alcohol. I really enjoy the Mentirita for its refreshing, crisp taste, perfect for a hot summer day.
  • Cubata: This mix features dark rum and cola, swapping the usual light rum for a richer flavor. The dark rum adds a robust, complex taste. I particularly like the depth the dark rum brings, making it great for evening events.
  • Añejo Highball: This combination of aged rum, ginger beer, lime, and bitters brings a sophisticated twist. The aged rum adds a woody depth, while the ginger beer introduces a spicy zest. I love how the aged rum’s complexity perfectly balances with the zesty ginger beer, creating a smooth yet uplifting experience.

History and Origins of the Cuba Libre

The Cuba Libre traces its origins back to Havana, Cuba, around the Spanish-American War of 1898. American soldiers stationed in Cuba popularized the drink, blending local Cuban rum with Coca-Cola, a newly imported American product, and adding a splash of lime. The name “Cuba Libre,” which means “Free Cuba,” was a rallying cry for Cuban independence and quickly became synonymous with the drink itself.

As the story goes, mixing these ingredients first happened in a bar in Havana when an American soldier ordered a rum and Coca-Cola with a slice of lime. The combination caught on, and others in the bar started ordering “the drink with the rum and Coca-Cola,” eventually shortening it to Cuba Libre.

A side shot of a Cuba Libre cocktail in a highball glass with a lime slice in front and a jigger and a shaker on the background.

See More

Did you make this recipe?

We’d love to see how you crafted our recipes!
Tag us on Instagram at @_drinksworld

FAQ

How many calories are in a Cuba Libre?
A standard version contains around 150-200 calories, depending on the brands of rum and cola used.
How strong is a Cuba Libre in terms of ABV and proof?
The ABV (Alcohol by Volume) typically ranges from 35-40%, depending on the rum. That translates to 70-80 proof.
What type of alcohol is used in a Cuba Libre?
Rum serves as the alcoholic base in a Cuba Libre.
In which glass is a Cuba Libre typically served?
It is usually served in a highball glass.
What does a Cuba Libre taste like?
The drink offers a balanced blend of sweet, citrusy, and slightly bitter flavors.
What is the ratio of ingredients in a Cuba Libre?
The classic ratio is 1 part rum to 2 parts cola, with the juice of half a lime.
How is the Cuba Libre served in terms of ice and presentation?
The drink is served over ice, often garnished with a lime wedge.
Can I use flavored rum?
Yes, flavored rum can add a unique twist, but it will alter the classic taste.
What's the best rum for a Cuba Libre?
A medium-bodied white rum usually works best, although the choice of rum can vary based on personal preference.

Categories

Types

Flavours

Spirits

Share
Pin
Post
Share
Send
Email

Rate this recipe

I don’t like it

It’s not bad

I like it

I really like it!

I love it!

Comments

Leave a Reply

Select language

The page you are looking at is also available in the following languages:

Recipe Overview

Explore our recipes by the categories below.

By spirit

By type

By flavour

Spirits Overview

Explore our spirits by the categories below.

Types