Old Cuban

By Timo Torner / Last updated on March 20, 2023

Inspired by the Mojito, the Old Cuban cocktail is a delicious Rum cocktail with a minty flavor. It is a classy drink topped with some fine bubbly Champagne.
Old Cuban cocktail with jigger, cocktail bitters, and cork

Rum, mint, and lime juice are a great combination of flavors, as we all know from the Mojito Cocktail. When mixing these three ingredients, the result is sour, herbal, and very refreshing. It is a delicious drink that's an all-time favorite for many.

Audrey Saunders, one of New York's bartending legends, took this classic and twisted it into the Old Cuban while still respecting the Caribbean roots. 

Traditional Mojito ingredients like Rum, mint, fresh lime juice, and simple syrup still build the foundation. But the Old Cuban is a more sophisticated drink. 

That does not only show in the ingredients but also in preparation and presentation. The cocktail gets double strained to ensure all mint leave-particles are filtered out and then topped with some delicate and bubbly Champagne.

But let's take a closer look at how to make this cocktail to perfection.

How to make an Old Cuban?

The list of ingredients for making an Old Cuban remains pretty similar to that of the Mojito

However, taking a closer look, you will notice there more differences than just replacing the soda water with Champagne. -Where a traditional Mojito asks for crisp and fresh white Rum, the recipe for the Old Cuban calls for aged dark Rum instead:

  • Aged, dark Rum
  • fresh mint
  • fresh lime juice
  • simple syrup
  • Champagne
  • Angostura Bitters
Old Cuban Cocktail

Aged Rum is smoother and richer in taste and has a more complex and mellow flavor profile. To further enhance the complexity of flavors, you also should add 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. If you want to replace Champagne with more affordable sparkling wine, that's perfectly fine. Make sure, though, that it is one with high effervescence. For instance, for Prosecco, that means you should opt for spumante, not frizzante. 

History of the Old Cuban cocktail

Audrey Saunders is a famous bartender who worked in many places in New York. During her time at Pegu Club in Soho, she even trained and mentored a respectable number of other talented barkeepers. Many of them are now among 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.

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 mixology and the craft cocktail movement started.

Old Cuban cocktail with jigger, cocktail bitters, and cork

Old Cuban

Dark aged rum mixed with mint, lime, and sugar. Topped off with some nice bubbly Champagne
Prep Time: 3 minutes
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: American
Keyword: angostura, Champagne, lime juice, rum, Rum Cocktail, simple syrup
Servings: 1
Calories: 168kcal
Cost: $3.40


  • 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 shaker 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


Serving: 4oz | Calories: 168kcal | Carbohydrates: 16.13g | Sodium: 9mg | Potassium: 95.75mg | Sugar: 15.91g | Vitamin C: 7.5mg | Calcium: 23mg | Iron: 0.3mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

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