The Most Popular Cuban Cocktails
10th August 2022
Cuba is a country that holds a classical charm, sharing its colours and history with the tourism world, but one thing it doesn’t overly boast about is its wine industry.
It’s very difficult to find any information about Cuban Wine and even harder to find anything on Cuban Sparkling Wine.
One thing that I do know is that Champagne and Sparkling Wine can be appreciated in Cuba, the country imports Wines and Sparkling Wines from Spain, Argentina, Chile and more recently in the last decade from California.
Cuba contains its own vineyards and versatile ones at that, in wineries, up to mountains and even on people’s rooftops.
In 2014 the country boasted about having over 250 Sommeliers, split down the middle between men and women, during this time California made a big push to get their wines into the country and to inspire Cuban Sommeliers to fall in love with Californian Wines.
What I want to talk about and share with you, are the very popular Cocktails that this island has created and that its inhabitants and visitors very much enjoy.
Cuba is in love with Cocktails, they are responsible for creating some of the world’s most famous Cocktails.
Let’s dive in and start with the most popular and most famous Cuban Cocktail, not just in the country but across the world.
The first time a Mojito was created was in Havana, the capital of Cuba, the story goes that the famous English Pirate, Sir Francis Drake was the man to invent this Cocktail, during the 1500s, Sir Francis Drake led an unsuccessful invasion of Cuba, while in Havana his crew started suffering from Scurvy and Dysentery, to quickly aid in the recovery of his men he sent a group off in search of help from the indigenous people, who had medicine to help.
His men came back with mint leaves, lime, sugar cane juice, aguardiente and Rum-soaked Chuchuhuasi tree bark, Darke quickly turned it into a Cocktail and his men recovered.
Very shortly after that time the locals started making a Cocktail with simular ingredients known as ‘El Draque’ which would become the Mojito.
Although it can’t 100% be confirmed and it’s only if this story is true, Sir Francis Drake might have just created the World’s First Cocktail.
There are a couple of other theories to the created on the Mojito, but by far this one is the best.
The Mojito is loved and adored across the country of Cuba and has definitely made it big around the world.
The Mojito is made with 40mls of White Rum, and 30mls of Fresh Lime Juice, then place in 6 Mint Leaves and 2 Teaspoons of Sugar and top up with Soda Water. Extra Mint leaves would be used as a Garnish along with Yerba Buena, lemon or lime slice or even a cucumber slice, and a couple of ice cubes to chill it down.
More commonly known as a Rum & Coke, the Cuba Libre was first created in the year 1902 in Havana. Cuba had just won independence from Spain, the country was alive with celebrations and festivities, people were singing and dancing, cigars being lit and drinks being poured and the words of ‘Cuba Libre’ and ‘Free Cuba’ were being shared with loud smiling voices.
Captain Russell took a moment from the street celebrations and headed into the American Bar, where he walked over to the bartender and ordered an original Cocktail, utilising Rum, Coca-Cola and Lime, the Cocktail took on the name of which was being shouted in the streets, Cuba Libre.
This story holds a lot credibilty, as in 1965, a native Cuban by the name of Fausto Rodriguez had been working for Russell during that time, he speaks true Captain Russell. Also during this time, Coca-Cola had just gained a foothold in Cuba, and many drinks were being mixed with Coca-Cola.
The Cuba Libre is made with 50mls of White Rum, 10mls of Lime Juice and 120mls of Coke, Garnished with a Lime wedge and filled to the brim with ice.
The Daiquiri is another very popular Cuban Cocktail, it is said to have been created by Jennings Cox, who took up residence in Cuba after the Spanish-American War which lasted from April 21st to December 10th, 1898, he was an American mining engineer, who hosted a Cocktail Party, and during the evening, all his Gin was drunk dry, and when looking a subsitiute, he came stumbled across Rum which Cuba was rich with, he used Rum instead of Gin in a punch that he was serving at the Party, this is said to have been the creation of the Daiquiri.
Made with 40mls of White Rum, 30mls of Lime Juice and 15mls of Simple Syrup (which is sugar and water) normally served with a lime slice as a Garnish.
The final Cocktail to mention is a lesser-known Cuban adaptation, but still, an enjoyable one, taking inspiration from the Screwdriver, you’ll need 30mls of White Rum, 15mls of Lime Juice, 15mls of Simple Syrup and top up with Orange Juice, it’s then Garnished with an Orange twist or wedge, and add a couple of ice cubes to chill it down.
Although the Piña Colada originates from Puerto Rico, it is still enjoyed like one of their own in Cuba, this Cocktail was invented by Ramón ‘Monchito’ Marrero in 1954, he was a bartender at the Caribe Hilton Hotel, the Piña Colada was first served at the hotel’s Beachcomber Bar, the Piña Colada translates to the ‘strained pineapple’.
The Piña Colada is made with 30mls of Coconut cream, 30nls of White Rum and 90mls of Pineapple Juice. Normally served with a Pineapple slice or even sometimes a cherry as a Garnish.
Another way of looking at it, if you don’t have a measuring cup or jigger, is 1 part Coconut Cream, 1 part White Rum and 3 parts Pineapple Juice.
One final thing to note is that the Rum used in Cuban Cocktails will be Cuban Rum, they love the stuff just as much as they do Cocktails, they use their White Rum almost exclusively over any of their Dark Rums, despite both displaying glorious characters.
Time To Leave Cuba
Unfortunately, it’s time to depart for home, Cuba is a stunning country, with so much life to discover, if you ever find yourself in Cuba for real, then make sure you enjoy one or two of their original Cocktails, you won’t be disapointed. Thank you for reading, and until next time, Enjoy The Fizz!
Image Credit – Cuba
Champagne and Sparkling Wine Writer, Focused on Bringing the Exciting and Fascinating World of Bubbly to You.