When you think of Cuba, the first things that pop into your mind are probably ; Sun, Sea, Cigars & Rum! I'm going to focus on the last one, RUM. Cuba has the best rum of the world, but did you know that some of the most famous cocktails in the world have Cuban roots ?!
Here are five delicious cocktails that have Cuban roots! Of course, we will also give you the recipes so you can try them out at home!
When you think of Cuban cocktails, you will likely think of the Mojito first, as it is one of the most famous cocktails in the world. According to one creation myth, the local native inhabitants of Cuba offered a medicinal drink to European sailors suffering from scurvy. The drink included lime, sugar cane juice and fermented sugar cane. This recipe was later changed by replacing the fermented sugar cane with rum, as well as adding mint leaves. It was reported to be one of Ernest Hemingway’s favorite drinks, leading to its increased popularity outside of the Caribbean.
- Fresh mint leaves
- ½ lime, cut into 4 wedges
- 2 tablespoons white sugar
- 1 cup ice cubes
- 45 ml white rum
- 120 ml club soda
- Place mint leaves and 1 lime wedge into a sturdy glass.
- Use a muddler to crush the mint and lime to release the mint oils and lime juice.
- Add 2 more lime wedges and the sugar, and muddle again to release the lime juice. Do not strain the mixture.
- Fill the glass almost to the top with ice.
- Pour the rum over the ice, and fill the glass with carbonated water.
- Stir, taste, and add more sugar if desired.
- Garnish with the remaining lime wedge.
The Canchanchara is a local cocktail found mostly in Trinidad and the surrounding area. While not internationally well known, be sure to give this drink a try when in the area! The drink is said to be invented by local ‘Mambises’, local revolutionary militia fighting for Cuban independence against Spain in 1969. The drink contains rum, honey, lime and crushed ice. It is typically served in a small, handle-less, earthenware mug which is abundantly produced in the region.
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 1 tablespoon hot water
- 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
- 85 ml añejo rum
- Lime wedge and fresh sugar cane
- Combine honey and 1 tablespoon hot water in a highball glass; stir until honey dissolves.
- Add lime juice and rum.
- Add ice to fill glass.
- Stir until chilled.
- Top with more ice.
- Garnish with lime wedge and sugarcane, if desired.
Another internationally popular cocktail from Cuba is the daiquiri. Although credited to be invented by an American who owned a mining company in Cuba, in the village of Daiquiri, the cocktail itself was first served in Cuba. He was out of Whiskey and Gin and made a cocktail for his guests using a local rum, the drink was a big hit and the rest is history. Including sugar, crushed ice, lime and rum, it closely resembled the Canchanchara at first. It was only much later, that the drink evolved to include a fruit of choice (most commonly the strawberry), mixed in a blender to create a cocktail resembling a smoothie.
- 45 ml rum
- Lime juice from 1 lime
- 10 ml sugar syrup
- Put ice, rum, sugar syrup and lime juice in a shaker.
- Shake well untill the shaker has a frost layer on the outside.
- Strain into chilled martini glass.
- Garnish with lemon.
Not as well known as some of the other Cuban cocktails, the El Presidente does make a regular appearance on cocktail menus worldwide. Named in honor of the Cuban President Machado (when he was still popular), the cocktail includes rum, vermouth, Curaçao liqueur, ice and grenadine. This mix of different alcohols creates a smooth taste to separate it more distinctly from the other, mostly rum-based, Cuban cocktails
- 45 ml white rum
- 22 ml orange Curaçao
- 22 ml dry vermouth
- 1 dash grenadine
- Add all the ingredients to a shaker.
- Fill shaker with ice and shake untill shaker has a frost layer on the outside.
- Strain into chilled cocktail glass.
The Cuba Libre belongs to one of the most frequently consumed cocktails, even though it is internationally better known as the “Bacardi Cola”. The Bacardi family is not well liked in Cuba, however, having fled the island after Castro’s revolution, so it is safer to order it using the Cuban name. According to the stories, after Cuban independence was secured from Spain with the help of US soldiers, the mixing of the two cultures was represented by mixing the two popular drinks: US cola and Cuban rum. A popular victory toast at the time was “Por Cuba Libre” (to Cuban freedom), which later became the name of the cocktail.
- 60 ml gold rum
- 120 ml cola
- 1 large lime, 30 ml lime juice
- Ice cubes
- Mint leaves
- Slice lime into 6 wedges.
- In a tall glass, squeeze the juice from 4 wedges, and drop them in the glass after squeezing.
- Add rum and cola into glass.
- Gently stir until well mixed.
- Fill glass with ice.
- Garnish with lime wegde and mint leaves.