The cocktail is an art form that peaked in the middle of the 20th century and has been in rapid decline since. As a young lad, I was schooled in the fine art of cocktailing by my father and grandfathers, I learned many valuable lessons that I plan to pass on. I also want to resurrect some of the old classics that vastly surpass the sugary & fruity concoctions made today with their simplicity, elegance and bold flavors. Most of the time I will focus on one drink, and to provide, at least in my opinion, the definitive recipe, but hope to expand to other related topics as I see fit. Please mix yourself a cocktail, read, drink, and enjoy!

Friday, April 23, 2010

Castro’s Cuba Libre

This is not the same drink you consumed by the pool over spring break, that was a cheap rum and coke with a wedge of lime. This is a drinking man’s version of an old classic, fit for even the most discerning communist politician. The exact origin, as well as the exact timing of this cocktail is disputed, but suffice it to say, it was created in Cuba in the early years of the 20th century.

My version goes way beyond white or spiced rum mixed haphazardly with cola and served in a plastic cup with the tiniest sliver of lime. As with any great drink, a little effort goes a long way. Start with the lime, your average grocery store lime just will not do the trick this time. Take the time to find somewhere with Mexican or Key limes (if you are forced to use Persian limes, look for small ones and only use half the lime in each drink). Slice the lime in half and squeeze the juice into an empty Collins glass. Drop one squeezed out lime half into the glass and muddle gently to release some of the oils. Fill the glass with ice and add 2 1/2 ounces of premium riserva rum, Pyrat XO is what currently resides in my bar. Lastly, fill the remainder of the glass with coca-cola, but not your average store bought can. Look in the Hispanic food section of your grocery store or seek out a specialty store that carries bottles imported from Mexico. The Mexican version is sweetened with sugar cane instead of corn syrup and has a slightly sweeter and much cleaner flavor.

Grow a beard, light a cigar and invite your friends over for a Cuban themed cocktail party. Serve these along with daiquiris, mojitos, and el presidentes and you will have corrected the wrongs of bartenders all over the world.

Cuba Libre
1 key lime
2 ½ oz riserva rum
imported coca-cola
Squeeze the lime juice into empty Collins glass, drop in one of the squeezed out lime halves, muddle gently.  Fill the glass with ice and add the rum.  Fill the remainder of the glass with coca-cola. 

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