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Cuba Libre Turns 111

Bust out the light rum, cola and lime!  The traditional Cuba Libre cocktail is celebrating its 111th birthday with a little help from Bacardi.

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This August, Bacardi celebrates the 111th anniversary of the creation of the original Cuba Libre.  With its refreshing combination of Bacardi Rum and Coca-Cola and rich historical ties to Cuba, this legendary drink has withstood the test of time and continues to be enjoyed by millions of consumers internationally.

The origins of the original Cuba Libre trace back to Cuba’s War for Independence in 1898, when Colonel Theodore Roosevelt and his regiment, known as the Rough Riders, along with large droves of Americans, arrived in Cuba.  Coca-Cola was introduced to Cuba after the arrival of American troops, and it soon became a popular choice for Cubans and Americans alike.

In August 1900, while celebrating victory at the American Bar in Havana, Cuba, Captain Russell of the United States Army Signal Corps, ordered his Cuban Bacardi Rum and Coke, served with a wedge of fresh lime.  This new combination sparked interest from the soldiers around him and soon the entire bar was drinking one.  The Captain proposed a toast, “¡Por Cuba libre!” in celebration of a free Cuba.  The words Cuba Libre – meaning Free Cuba – had a special political significance, and were frequently used by Cubans and Americans alike.  It seemed quite natural that the American soldiers selected and applied this popular slogan to this drink, which they considered indigenous to Cuba, consisting of Bacardi Rum and Coca-Cola.  The name caught on quickly, and remains popular to this day.

“The fact that the Cuba Libre cocktail continues to gain popularity after 111 years speaks to the exceptional quality and great taste Bacardi adds to this iconic drink,” said Eugenio Mendez, Senior Global Category Director – Rums. “More than 80 billion Cuba Libre cocktails have been served since 1900, and close to six million are consumed every day around the world.”

In 1862, in Santiago de Cuba, Don Facundo Bacardi Masso revolutionized rum making by developing the world’s first smooth light-bodied spirit.  As the ultimate mixing spirit, Bacardi Rum inspired the creation of legendary cocktail recipes like the Mojito, the Daiquiri, and the Pina Colada. 

Original Bacardi Cuba Libre

2 parts Bacardi Rum
4 parts Coca-Cola
2 lime wedges
Ice cubes

Fill a highball glass with cubed ice.  Squeeze and drop a fresh lime wedge into the glass.  Pour in Bacardi Rum and top with chilled Coca-Cola, ideally bottled.  Stir gently.