Cuba Libre Recipe

By Timo Torner / Last updated on April 29, 2023

The Cuba Libre is more than just Rum & Coke; It is one of the most famous Cuban cocktails today and is firmly tied to Cuban history.
Cuba Libre cocktail

Together with the Daiquiri and the Mojito, the Cuba Libre is in the top three of the most influential cocktails of our time of Cuban origin.

Translated, Cuba Libre means free Cuba. A popularized term after the Spanish-American War, celebrating liberation and independence from Spain. So why was this simple mix of rum, Coke, and lime named after this significant event?

Quick Facts Cuba Libre Drink

  • Method: built in glass
  • Flavor profile:  sweet
  • How to serve it: over ice
  • Best glassware: long drink glass
  • Alcohol content: ~ 12.5% ABV, 19 grams of alcohol per serving

Our recipe shows you what it takes to make a proper, traditional Cuban Cuba Libre. - And read on to learn all secrets behind one of the purportedly easiest-to-make and basic cocktails available on today's bar menus.

Cuba Libre cocktail

Cuba Libre Recipe

A Cuban classic made of Rum, Coke, and fresh limes.
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: cuban
Keyword: coke, lime, rum
Servings: 1
Calories: 183kcal
Cost: $2.20


  • 1 Jigger


  • 2 oz Light Cuban Rum
  • 4 oz Coke
  • 0.5 oz Lime juice
  • 1-2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 1-2 wedges Lime


  • Add the freshly squeezed lime juice into a collins glass filled with ice.
    0.5 oz Lime juice
  • Pour in the Rum, add one lóf the lime wedges, and give it a quick stir.
    1-2 wedges Lime, 2 oz Light Cuban Rum
  • Fill the glass up with coke and quickly stir the drink.
    4 oz Coke
  • Add another lime wedge as garnish and finish it off with a dash of Angostura bitters.
    1-2 wedges Lime, 1-2 dashes Angostura bitters


Serving: 6.75ozCalories: 183kcalCarbohydrates: 15.5gSodium: 5mgPotassium: 20mgSugar: 14.4gVitamin C: 4.8mgCalcium: 2mgIron: 0.08mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

Ingredients & Tips

For a long time, Bacardi claimed to be the leading brand when it came to making the perfect Cuba Libre. But naturally, that was more of a clever and brilliant marketing move than anything else. 

  • Rum: The original is said to have been Cuban rum, and we like to respect traditions. Consequently, we use Cuban rum for this drink, like Havana Club 3 Years or Bacardi. However, any white rum of good quality will work.
  • Coke: Coca-Cola is the original and also our go-to brand. However, Cubans have a great alternative. Read more below.
  • Lime Juice: The fine line between a Rum & Coke and a Cuba Libre is drawn by the third ingredient - lime. The citrus juice adds depth and complexity to the drink and helps to marry flavors. That's why lime juice is a key ingredient in many cocktails and cuisines.
  • Bitters (optional): If you like to bring more complexity into your drink, add one or two dashes of Angostura bitters to the mix.

Interesting side fact: In the US, Cuban goods are pretty much unavailable, so how come you can get Bacardi and Havana there? Find the entire story in our article about Havana Club.

Best Coke for the Cuba Libre

For Coke, you usually want to go with the original ingredient, Coca-Cola. To make your Cuba Libre perfect, I recommend using the Mexican version - if you can get a hand on it. 

Mexican Coca-Cola is sweetened with sugarcane - instead of, for instance, corn syrup in the US. It blends particularly well with rum since that is also a sugar cane product. You can get this Coke in Latin American supermarkets or online.

Since Cuba does not import Coca-Cola, they came up with a beverage called TuKola, which has been the standard choice in the Cuban version of the Cuba Libre Drink. This Cuban Coke is super tasty and would pose serious competition to Coca-Cola if it was available outside of Cuba. Try it if you ever have the chance.

How Much Lime Juice is Ideal?

Opinions are divided regarding how much lime juice a Cuba Libre needs. Some prefer just a splash of 5ml (1/6 oz), others -like us- prefer a more citrus-forward taste and 15ml (1/2 oz) of freshly squeezed lime juice.

Lime is what balances the crisp, alcoholic taste of rum and the sweetness of Coke. To us, it's the ingredient that makes all the difference. If you like your drinks sour, you can even increase the amount of lime juice beyond 0.5 oz.

History of the Cuba Libre

When Cuba won independence from Spain in 1898 with the help of the Americans, Bacardi Rum and Coca-Cola were available everywhere in Cuba. 

Therefore, it was an obvious choice to mix the two elements. Lime was readily available, and that's how the recipe and the name came up. All quite simple and straightforward. Only later should things become more complicated... 

After having helped to free Cuba from the Spanish regime, the Americans took over as the new country controlling and regulating the island. When they arrived in Cuba, they brought common American goods, among them Coca-Cola. 

As the story goes, an American soldier mixed the sweet American soda with Cuban Rum and a splash of lime juice. 

Initially, Cubans celebrated their new "freedom" with the slogan Cuba Libre. Since the Americans were associated with the liberation of Cuba, it only made sense to name the drink (made with an American product and invented by an American) accordingly.

Well, we all know that things turned sour quickly, and the situation didn't age well. When the relationship between Cuba and the US became more complicated, the supply of Coca-Cola stopped. Thus, Cuba had to make its own version of the lemonade. 

Still, this short-lived alliance paved the way for some prominent cocktail creations. The most famous ones are the Daiquiri and the Cuba Libre.

Related Cocktails

Another drink right out of the heart of the Caribbean island that recently gained traction is the Canchanchara, a blend of aguardiente, honey, and lime. It has its roots in the small town of Trinidad, Cuba.

For more cocktails with Coke, check out these recipes:

Subscribe to Cocktail Society!

Receive our latest recipes, reviews, and insights - straight to your inbox.
Subscription Form

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Recipe Rating

ContactAbout usPrivacy PolicyTermsSitemap
Affiliate disclosure: As an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases from

© 2023