Rum, mint, and lime juice are a great combination of flavors. Just think of the Mojito. The result is sour, herbal, and very refreshing. It is a delicious drink that’s an all-time favorite for many. And even though usually one should not mess with the classics, sometimes tweaking a traditional recipe can end up being something outstanding. And the Old Cuban is a perfect example of this.
Having been created by Audrey Saunders, one of New York’s bartending legends, the Old Cuban respects its roots. Traditional Mojito ingredients like Rum, mint, fresh lime juice, and sugar (simple syrup) build the drink’s foundation. But the Old Cuban is a more sophisticated drink. That not only shows in the ingredients but also in preparation and presentation. The cocktail gets double strained to make sure all mint leave-particles are filtered out and then topped with some delicate and bubbly Champagne.
The Old Cuban is a beautiful cocktail that’s worth having a closer look at.
History of the Old Cuban cocktail
Audrey Saunders is a famous bartender who worked in many different places in New York. During her time at Pegu Club in Soho, she trained and mentored a respectable number of talented barkeepers. Many of them are now amongst the top bartenders in the country. But not only did Audrey leave footmarks as a mentor and trainer. She also created some unique and beautiful cocktails that are served all over the world.
Many of her drinks base on classic recipes and flavor combinations. She truly mastered the art of reinventing classics by tweaking them in her own unique way. The results often are no simple riffs. Most of the time, they are treated as independent creations.
And one of those drinks is the Old Cuban cocktail. Saunders invented the drink in 2001 while working for a restaurant called Beacon. So this took place even before the renaissance of the craft cocktail movement started.
How to make an Old Cuban the right way
The list of ingredients for making an Old Cuban appears to be quite similar to that of the Mojito. But by having a closer look, you will notice that there are more differences than just replacing the soda water with Champagne. Where a traditional Mojito asks for crisp and fresh white Rum, Saunders decided on going with an aged dark Rum instead.
Aged Rum is richer and smoother in taste and has a more complex and mellow flavor profile. To further enhance the complexity of flavors, Saunders also added two dashes of Angostura bitters. Angostura bitters are the most popular cocktail bitters on the market. Just a drop or two can highly influence and deepen the flavor profile of your drink.
And then, for the final touch, the drink gets topped with a splash of bubbly Champagne.
- 1.5 oz Aged Rum
- 0.5 oz Simple syrup
- 0.75 oz Freshly squeezed lime juice
- 1 oz Champagne
- 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- 6 Mint leaves
- 1 Mint sprig or leaf
- Add mint leaves, syrup, and freshly squeezed lime juice to your cocktail and gently muddle the leaves.0.5 oz Simple syrup, 0.75 oz Freshly squeezed lime juice, 6 Mint leaves
- Pour Rum and bitters into the shaker, add ice and shake until well-chilled.1.5 oz Aged Rum, 2 dashes Angostura bitters
- Double-strain your drink into a chilled coupe glass.
- Top up the cocktail with the Champagne and garnish with a sprig of mint or a single mint leaf.1 oz Champagne, 1 Mint sprig or leaf