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Wednesday, November 25

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Drink Fri Mar 06 2009

Happy Hour: Cuba Libre Cocktail

I won't beat around the bush--the Cuba Libre is basically a Rum & Coke, but this is what it's called in the 1947 Trader Vic's Bartender's Guide (relied on by the owner of Weegee's, and if that's not a ringing endorsement for this book, I don't know what is).

I chose this because I really want to talk about the importance of measurement in mixing a proper cocktail. This week I went to a bar for a Rum & Coke, and the bartender filled a small glass with ice, poured a lot of rum in it, and then topped it off with not much more than a splash of cola. It tasted awful. After a couple of sips, I actually went back to the bar to ask to have it poured into a bigger glass with more coke added. Only then was it palatable.

A lot of bartenders think they're doing you a favor by pouring liquor with a heavy hand. They're not.

You may get drunk more quickly, but it's not as an enjoyable process as when a drink is properly measured out. And really, drinking for enjoyment is a much better way to go.

If you measure the ingredients carefully, they'll blend together perfectly. In a mixed drink like the Cuba Libre, you can really tell the difference when the proportions are off. Try it at home and see. Make sure you have a jigger (stainless steel measure) or two--they come in different sizes--and it also doesn't hurt to have another liquid measure on hand to cover odd amounts.

The Trader Vic's book suggests these ingredients, shaken with cracked ice and strained into a chilled cocktail glass:

1 oz. rum
1 oz. cola
juice of 1/2 lime (about 1/4 oz.)

A quickie version is to pour the same ingrediencts into a rocks glass filled with ice and stir.

You'll notice that this drink as written is pretty strong (and in a rocks glass, it doesn't look like much). If you want it weaker, add cola one ounce at a time until you get the desired taste. If you want it a bigger portion, just double both ingredients. You should notice a difference when the ingredients are in proportion, rather than free-poured. They blend better, and the overall effect is a much more elegant drink that you can enjoy, rather than something you want to chug so you can forget how it tastes.

Happy drinking!


bt / October 25, 2009 8:21 PM

This drink appears to differ from the standard rum and coke in that it has a lot of lime juice (1/2 lime). I'd like to do a side by side comparison!

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Feature Wed Aug 26 2015

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By Jeanne Newman

Philly has its Cheesesteak, Miami has the Cubano, and even Iowa has the Loose Meat Sandwich. Just about every American city boasts its own iconic sandwich, but there may not be one shrouded in such historical mystery and worthy of...
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