My Cuba Libre Story

Were you ever at a rum bar, ask for a Daiquiri and then been told : « Sorry but we don’t do that here. Just pick a drink from the list !» Or have you ever heard a bartender refusing to make an apple martini because he believes it is simply “no good”? What about the Cuba Libre?

In my opinion, these situations happen too often.

As a bartender, I consider making my patrons happy as the most important part of my job. It’s not a matter of shoving a bottle of super rare vermouth in the mouth of your patrons just because you think it’s good and he should have it because fortified wines are cool!

Those days are gone you little pretentious bartender!

That is why every single time I have a customer in front of me who asks : “Can you make me the best {whatever} EVER, please?” and is referring to a drink I would usually never have made, I take it as a challenge to make it SO good that I will want to put it on my drink list the week after.

So many times I have been ask to make a twist on a Rum and Coke. SWEET! Because of the cola being so powerful and super loaded with sugar, it’s really tough to make a riff on this one. Besides going crazy on the garnish and adding a pinch of vanilla or spices, I never really had good ideas… until this week. EUREKA !

I was having a Manhattan with Canadian Rye and Del Professor sweet vermouth. The spices and bite of the rye paired with the menthol and herbal notes of the vermouth made me think of cola and that’s when I had the idea of making the best Cuba Libre ever… drum rolls… without cola. I then started to do some researches about homemade Cola syrup and even got on some obscure websites about the secret recipe of Coke. I got to my lab and started to experiment. It took me a few tries and I ended up with this recipe. To all of you rum-and-Coke addicts, this one's for you.

I hope you will enjoy this as much as I did. It is your duty to please your patrons and always do the best you can to do so.

Santé !


MY Cuba Libre

(note: the choice of spirit is very important in this one)

1 oz Brugal rum extra dry

½ oz Crown Royal Northern Harvest Rye

½ oz Sweet vermouth Del Professor

½ oz Cuba libre syrup*

¼ oz Fresh lime juice

2 dashes of Cherry Bark Vanilla bitters from Bittercube

1 ½ oz Soda

*Cuba Libre syrup

250 ml Demerara sugar

250 ml water

2 Tonka beans

2 Cloves

1 g of crushed Nutmeg

¼ of a Vanilla bean

2 g Cinnamon stick

2 dates

Zest of half a lime

Simmer all ingredients for 15 minutes and let it cool down to room temperature

Strain in the bottle of your choice and keep in the fridge.

Cuba Libre, and why there are no bad drinks.. - dedicated to better imbibing.