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History’s Great Sips: The Cuba Libre

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It’s the time-honored combination of rum and cola with a lime, otherwise known by its official name, the Cuba Libre. Its origins date to 1900 in Cuba during the American occupation of the island.

According to Bacardi archivist Juan Bergaz Pessino, the cocktail was first ordered by an American, one Captain Russell, at The American Bar in Havana, where soldiers were celebrating the end of the war.

The story goes that Russell asked for BACARDÍ® Carta de Oro rum with cola and a lime, and chants of “Por Cuba Libre!” (“for a free Cuba,” celebrating their independence from Spain) began among the soldiers and their Cuban counterparts—and the name of the cocktail was christened.

Several decades later, in 1965, a Cuban native by the name of Fausto Rodriguez filed an affidavit with the state of New York claiming that, as a 14-year-old boy who was employed as a messenger for the U.S. Army Signal Corps, he accompanied Russell, corroborating his creation with BACARDÍ Carta de Oro rum, Coca-Cola and lime.

The Cuba Libre is the most popular cocktail in the world, and thousands of them are prepared each day.

The combination of rum and cola has had other historical and pop culture moments—it was popular during World War II and was the title of a hit song by the Andrews Sisters in 1945—but after more than a century, the recipe for a Cuba Libre has stayed the same. Find the classic recipe here.