Classic Cuba Libre: A Refreshing Rum & Coke Twist

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The Cuba Libre, translating to “Free Cuba” in English, is a vibrant and celebratory rum-based cocktail with a surprisingly simple recipe. It’s a delightful blend of light or dark rum, fresh lime juice, and Coca-Cola, served over ice in a highball glass. While its origins are debated, the Cuba Libre has become a popular choice for poolside gatherings, backyard barbecues, and enjoying a warm summer evening.

This article equips you with everything you need to craft the perfect Cuba Libre, from the essential ingredients to step-by-step instructions and a peek at its nutritional content.

Cuba libre
Cuba libre


2 ounces (60 ml) light or dark rum (depending on your preference)

  • Fresh lime juice, squeezed from half a lime (approximately 1 ounce or 30 ml)
  • Coca-Cola, to top the glass (amount depends on desired strength)
  • Lime wedge, for garnish
  • Ice cubes

  • Directions:

    1. Prep the Glass: Fill a highball glass with ice cubes. Let them sit for a moment to chill the glass. Discard the melted ice water.

    2. Squeeze the Lime: Using a lime squeezer or your hand, squeeze the juice from half a lime directly into the chilled glass.

    3. Muddle (Optional): If you want a more pronounced lime flavor, cut the squeezed lime half in half again and gently muddle it against the bottom of the glass to release the essential oils.

    4. Add the Rum: Pour your chosen rum (light or dark) into the glass.

    5. Top with Cola: Gently pour Coca-Cola over the ice and rum mixture, filling the glass to your desired level.

    6. Stir and Garnish: Give the drink a quick stir to combine the flavors. Garnish with a lime wedge for a touch of visual appeal.


    For a sweeter drink, use a higher ratio of cola to rum.

  • If you prefer a more tart flavor, add a squeeze more lime juice.
  • Experiment with different types of rum to discover your favorite variation.
  • For a non-alcoholic version, replace the rum with cola and club soda.

  • Nutritional Facts:

    While the exact nutritional content can vary depending on the rum and cola used, a typical Cuba Libre contains approximately:

    Calories: 140-200 (depending on rum choice and amount of cola)

  • Carbs: 25-30 grams (mostly from the cola)
  • Sugar: 20-25 grams (mostly from the cola)
  • Fat: 0 grams
  • Protein: 0 grams
  • Sodium: trace amounts

  • Remember: Please consume alcohol responsibly.

    Cuba Libre: Frequently Asked Questions

    1. What’s the difference between using light and dark rum?

    Light rum has a milder flavor profile and is often preferred in cocktails like the Cuba Libre. Dark rum offers a richer, more complex taste due to its longer aging process. Ultimately, the choice depends on your personal preference.

    2. Can I use a lime substitute?

    While fresh lime juice is ideal for its bright, citrusy flavor, in a pinch, you can substitute bottled lime juice. However, be mindful that bottled varieties may have a slightly different taste and might require adjusting the amount for desired tartness.

    3. What other cola options are there?

    Feel free to experiment with different cola brands or even explore sugar-free alternatives. Just be aware that the taste profile might vary slightly depending on your choice.

    4. How can I make a big batch Cuba Libre for a party?

    The Cuba Libre translates well to a larger scale. Simply combine all the ingredients (except the lime wedge garnish) in a pitcher filled with ice. Stir gently and allow guests to serve themselves into individual glasses filled with ice and topped with a lime wedge.

    5. What are some variations on the Cuba Libre recipe?

    The Cuba Libre offers a foundation for exploration. Here are a few ideas:

    Spicy Cuba Libre: Muddle a few slices of jalapeno pepper in the glass before adding the lime juice for a touch of heat.

  • Dirty Cuba Libre: Add a splash of dark rum to the bottom of the glass before layering on the light rum and other ingredients.
  • Fruity Cuba Libre: Muddle a handful of fresh berries in the glass before adding the lime juice for a burst of fruity flavor.