Cuban Missile Crisis Cocktail Recipe

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Cuban Missile Crisis 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 Cuban Missile Crisis cocktail is inspired by the tense 13-day political and military standoff in 1962 between the United States and the Soviet Union over the installation of nuclear-armed Soviet missiles in Cuba. This cocktail is a favorite among history buffs and those who enjoy a strong, complex drink with an interesting backstory.

How Cuban Missile Crisis Tastes?

This cocktail has a bold, complex taste with a perfect balance of sweet, sour, and bitter flavors. The rum provides a strong, warming sensation, while the lime juice adds a refreshing tanginess. The bitters and sugar syrup round out the flavor profile, making it a truly satisfying and memorable drink.

Interesting facts about Cuban Missile Crisis

  • The Cuban Missile Crisis cocktail is named after the 1962 event that brought the world to the brink of nuclear war.
  • This cocktail is often served in a chilled martini glass, symbolizing the icy tension between the US and the USSR during the crisis.
  • The combination of ingredients represents the various nations involved in the conflict, with rum from Cuba, lime juice from the Caribbean, and bitters from the United States.



Why: The backbone of our cocktail; offers sweetness and a little tropical mischief. Too much?: You'd sail away on a stronger tide, maybe more than you bargained for. Too little?: The Cuban Missile Crisis without the 'Cuban'? I don't think so. No Rum: Not a missile, not a crisis, just a limey soda.

Emma Rose

Lime Juice

Why: The zesty zing cuts through the rum's sweetness, keeps things balanced. Too much?: Pucker up! It'd be more sour than a lemon stand. Too little?: You might mistake it for a syrupy sweet rum punch.

Alex Green

Simple Syrup

Why: Sweetens the deal and makes peace between the strong flavors. Too much?: You'd think you're drinking candied rum. Too little?: The cocktail would throw a tart tantrum.

Mary Mitkina

Angostura Bitters

Why: The spice is right! Adds complexity and depth. Too much?: It'd be like drinking a spiced rum all by its lonely self. Too little?: The flavor profile would lack character; it'd be a dull affair.

Emma Rose

Recipe. How to make Cuban Missile Crisis Drink

  1. Fill a cocktail shaker with ice.
  2. Add the rum, lime juice, simple syrup, and Angostura bitters to the shaker.
  3. Shake vigorously for 20-30 seconds, or until well chilled and combined.
  4. Strain the mixture into a chilled martini glass.
  5. Garnish with a lime twist or a cherry, if desired.

Pro Tips

  • Shake the cocktail shaker vigorously to ensure all ingredients are well mixed.
  • Always use fresh lime juice for the best flavor.
  • Chill the martini glass before serving to keep the cocktail cold longer.

Perfect Pairings

Food Pairings

  • Tacos al Pastor: The acidity of the lime juice complements the tangy flavors of the pineapple and pork.
  • Ceviche: A fresh and zesty seafood dish that is balanced by the refreshing kick of the cocktail.
  • Empanadas: The heartiness of meat-filled empanadas is cut through by the cocktail's crispness.

Drinks Pairing

  • Cold Brew Coffee: For a non-alcoholic pairing that echoes the robustness of the rum with its own depth.
  • Champagne: As an aperitif, champagne's bubbly nature can provide a delicate contrast to the cocktail's punchiness.

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What you could change in Cuban Missile Crisis

  • Rum: Can be replaced with vodka for a less sweet taste.
  • Simple syrup: Honey or agave syrup can be used as a natural sweetener.
  • Angostura bitters: Other types of bitters can be used for a different flavor profile.

Explore all drinks starting with C here

And of course - twists🍹

The Soviet Standoff

  • Replace the rum with vodka to align with more Soviet tastes.
  • Use lemon juice instead of lime for a sharper, more continental twang.
  • Add a splash of cranberry for a red hue, reminiscent of the Cold War.

The Caribbean Quarantine

  • Float blue curacao on top for a colorful blockade effect.
  • Swap out simple syrup for coconut syrup to add tropical sweetness.
  • Garnish with a pineapple wedge to signify the lush Caribbean landscape.

The Diplomat

  • Stir in the mixture instead of shaking for a smoother, less aggressive mix.
  • Serve in an Old-Fashioned glass with a large ice cube signifying cooler heads prevailing.
  • Add a spritz of orange peel oils to represent the zest of diplomatic efforts.

In case you forgot basics how to make Cuban Missile Crisis

The basic composition of simple syrup is relatively straightforward – a 1:1 ratio of sugar and water. This mixture is heated until the sugar dissolves, resulting in a clear, sweet syrup.

Learn everything about simple syrup

Add your ingredients to the shaker first, then ice. Fill it up to ¾ of its capacity to ensure enough space for shaking. Hold the shaker with both hands (one on the top and one on the bottom) and shake vigorously. The shake should come from your shoulders, not your wrists.

Learn everything on how to shake

Place your chosen strainer on top of the shaker or mixing glass, ensuring a secure fit. Pour the cocktail into a glass through the strainer, which will catch solid ingredients and ice. If double straining, hold the fine mesh strainer between the shaker and the glass.

Learn everything on how to strain

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 Cuban Missile Crisis

Does the Cuban Missile Crisis cocktail contain any allergens?

Unless you have specific allergies to any of the cocktail's ingredients (rum, lime juice, simple syrup, Angostura bitters), this drink should not contain any common allergens like gluten, nuts, or dairy. However, always check the labels of your specific ingredients to be sure.

Is there a non-alcoholic version of the Cuban Missile Crisis cocktail?

You could create a 'mocktail' version by substituting the rum with a non-alcoholic spirit or simply leaving it out. Replace the bitters with a few drops of a non-alcoholic bitter such as gentian root extract, or a bit of grapefruit juice for a hit of bitterness.

What does the Cuban Missile Crisis cocktail pair well with?

This cocktail is quite versatile and can pair well with a variety of foods. Its mix of sweet and bitter flavors would coalesce well with spicy dishes like tapas or grilled meats. The cocktail's citrusy notes also make it a good match for seafood.

Can the Cuban Missile Crisis cocktail be made in large batches for parties?

Yes, this cocktail can be made in large batches. Simply multiply the ingredients by the number of guests. However, rather than shaking, you may want to stir the large-batch cocktail to combine the ingredients. Let guests add ice to their individual glasses to avoid diluting the cocktail.

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