Cuba Libre Cocktail Recipe

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Cuba Libre Nutrition Facts






Created by

Nic Polotnianko

I fell in love with the art of mixology 6 years ago. Since then, I've honed my skills, crafting a myriad of cocktail recipes, and sharing my passion with other enthusiasts.

Last Updated: January 7, 2024


The Cuba Libre, also known as a Rum and Coke, has its origins in Havana, Cuba, during the Spanish-American War in the late 1890s. It is said that American soldiers stationed in Cuba would mix their Coca-Cola with local rum as a way to enjoy a refreshing and potent beverage. The name 'Cuba Libre' translates to 'Free Cuba,' a phrase that was popular among the soldiers during the war.

  • The Cuba Libre gained popularity in the United States during the Prohibition era, as rum was more readily available than other spirits.
  • The cocktail has become a symbol of Cuban culture and is enjoyed by people all over the world.

How Cuba Libre Tastes?

The Cuba Libre has a sweet and refreshing taste, with the sweetness of the cola balanced by the warmth and spice of the rum. The addition of lime juice adds a touch of tartness and brightness to the drink.

Interesting facts about Cuba Libre

  • The Cuba Libre is sometimes mistakenly called a 'Rum and Coke with lime,' but the lime is an essential ingredient that sets it apart from a simple Rum and Coke.
  • The Cuba Libre is often considered the national cocktail of Cuba.
  • The cocktail has inspired several songs, including 'Rum and Coca-Cola' by The Andrews Sisters and 'Cuba Libre' by Gloria Estefan.



The heart of the Cuba Libre! We use 2oz of rum to provide a robust base without overpowering the other components. The rum contributes a sweet, slightly spicy character that's key to the drink's identity. Go rum-less and you'll have a fancy lime cola, but it won’t be a party in your glass.

Mary Mitkina


This is the libation's bubbly soul! 4oz of Coca-Cola adds life with its effervescence while providing sweetness and its classic vanilla undertone. Too much cola, and you're at a kid's birthday party; too little, and the drink loses its charismatic fizz.

Alex Green

Fresh Lime Juice

The zesty magician! Squeezing in 0.5oz of fresh lime juice adds a citrusy sharpness that cuts through the sweetness, offering refreshment with every sip. Forget the lime, and the magic trick falls flat—meaning the cocktail becomes one-dimensional.

Emma Rose


The unsung hero! Ice keeps our Cuba Libre 'as cool as a cucumber' while subtly diluting the mixture to mellow the flavors over time. No ice means a warm, concentrated sip that could knock your socks off before the night even begins.

Mary Mitkina

Lime Wedge

The garnish is not just for looks. A lime wedge adds an extra twist of citrus aroma and an invitation for an impromptu squeeze if desired. Omitting it is like forgetting to smile at a joke—it might still be funny, but the full effect is lost.

Alex Green

Recipe. How to make Cuba Libre Drink

  1. Fill a highball glass with ice.
  2. Add 2oz of rum to the glass.
  3. Squeeze 0.5oz of fresh lime juice into the glass.
  4. Top with 4oz of Coca-Cola.
  5. Gently stir to combine.
  6. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Pro Tips

  • Use quality rum. The rum is a key ingredient in this cocktail, so make sure to use a good quality one.
  • Fresh lime juice. Using fresh lime juice instead of bottled can make a big difference in the taste of your Cuba Libre.
  • Don't overdo the cola. Too much cola can overpower the other flavors in the cocktail.

Perfect Pairings

Appetizers & Snacks

  • Empanadas: The citrus twist from the lime complements the savory fillings.
  • Fried Plantains: A sweet and salty snack that balances the sweetness of the cola.

Main Courses

  • Grilled Steak: The earthy flavors of the meat go well with the refreshing cocktail.
  • Cuban Sandwich: The richness of the sandwich is cut through by the acidity of the lime.


  • Churros with Chocolate: The cocktail's crispness cleanses the palate after a sweet bite.
  • Flan: Its caramel notes resonate with the cola's vanilla hints.

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What you could change in Cuba Libre

  • Rum: You can use any type of rum, but dark rum or spiced rum can add a different flavor profile to the cocktail.
  • Coca-Cola: If you prefer a less sweet cocktail, you can substitute the Coca-Cola with diet cola or cola zero.
  • Lime juice: If you don't have fresh limes, you can use bottled lime juice, but the taste may not be as fresh.

Explore all drinks starting with C here

And of course - twists🍹

Cuba Libre with a Minty Twist

  • Replace lime wedge with a mint sprig
  • Muddle mint leaves before adding rum

The mint gives the drink a fresh, herbal aroma and a cool aftertaste that sets it apart from the classic. It's like a breath of fresh air in a verdant Caribbean garden.

Spiced Cuba Libre

  • Use spiced rum instead of regular rum
  • Add a cinnamon stick for garnish

This version cozies up the traditional recipe with warm, spicy notes; think of a tropical night by a campfire. The spiced rum and cinnamon stick invite you on an exotic flavor journey.

Cuba Libre Tropical

  • Add 1oz of coconut water
  • Garnish with a slice of pineapple

Want a sip of the tropics? Coconut water adds a subtle nutty flavor and pineapple garnish brings island flair. This twist will make you feel like you're lounging under a palm tree with ocean waves serenading you.

In case you forgot basics how to make Cuba Libre

Insert the spoon into the glass until it touches the bottom. Keep the back of the spoon against the inside wall of the glass, and stir in a smooth, circular motion. The goal is to swirl the ice and ingredients together without churning or splashing.

Learn everything on how to stir

Garnishing a bar drink depends on the type of garnish and the cocktail. Generally, it involves preparing the garnish (like cutting a citrus wheel or picking a sprig of mint), and then adding it to the drink in a visually appealing way (like perching it on the rim or floating it on top).

Learn everything on garnishing

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Frequently Asked Questions on Cuba Libre

Is the Cuba Libre a popular cocktail globally?

Yes, the Cuba Libre is a popular cocktail enjoyed in many countries around the world beyond its birthplace of Cuba.

Does the type of rum I use significantly change the drink's flavor?

Yes, the type of rum used can have a significant impact on the flavor of a Cuba Libre. Light rums will produce a lighter, more refreshing drink, while dark rums will give it a stronger rum flavor.

Why is the lime essential in a Cuba Libre?

The lime is crucial in a Cuba Libre as it cuts through the sweetness of the Coca-Cola and enhances the flavors of the rum, adding a fresh and citrusy element that makes the cocktail as popular as it is.

Can I replace rum with another type of alcohol?

While you can technically replace rum with another type of alcohol, doing so would result in a different cocktail. Rum is essential for a traditional Cuba Libre.

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