Benjamin Franklin once said that to have good lives, we need to take up the habit of enjoying a good drink. For this reason, alcoholic beverages continue to hold a special place in the hearts of those who are determined to live their lives unapologetically. However, some drinks are superior to others, depending on their composition. The ingredients in any cocktail and their measurements determine the quality of the end product. As such, anyone who wants to enjoy a Cuba Libre will go for the best rum to ensure the taste and aroma are worth every penny. We have compiled the five best rums to use in a Cuba Libre to facilitate ordering your cocktail the next time you are unsure of which one to pick.
5. Mount Gay Black Barrel
The company, Mount Gay, dates back to the 18th century when in 1703, Sir John gay partnered with a friend who had inherited a distillery. Gay managed the business and transformed the unknown distillery into a reputable manufacturer of superior quality rum. The reputation of that establishment remains today, with Mount Gay Black Barrel making the cut as one of the best rums to use in a Cuba Libre. It has an ABV (alcohol by volume) of 40% and comprises spicy, toasted wood and subtle fruitiness notes. The rum is matured twice; the second time, it is placed in deeply charred American oak barrels, a process called finishing. That finishing stage enables the rum to acquire a distinctive spicy aroma.
4. El Dorado 3-Year
Food for Net listed El Dorado 3-Year among the five best rums to use in a Cuba Libre, explaining that it was originally designed for mixing. It is placed in oak barrels where it is matured for at least three years, hence the name. The rum is then filtered twice using natural charcoal to eliminate the impurities. If you go for white rum, it will offer the sweet aroma of vanilla bean, toasted coconut, and some hints of caramel and spice. It prides itself on being balanced yet fully flavored, providing you with a smooth palate and a dry, rounded finish.
3. Flor de Caña 4-Year
Flor de Caña is the pride of Nicaragua as it is the most awarded rum worldwide. It has been passed down from generation to generation and dates back to over a century ago. The rum owes its existence to an adventurous young man named Don Francesco Alfredo Pellas Canessa. Canessa left his hometown in Genoa, Italy, and went to Nicaragua to oversee his family’s shipping business. After a transoceanic canal was constructed in Panama, Canessa invested the family’s assets in sugarcane production and started producing rum. He utilized the rich volcanic soil of Nicaragua’s Chichigalpa region to make the highly praised rum aged in oak bourbon barrels for 4 to 25 years. As a result of sticking to high quality, the Pellas family is the wealthiest in Central America, and the company is now under Canessa’s great-grandson, Carlos Pellas Chamorro.
2. Brugal Anejo
According to Drink Spirits, the story of Brugal Añejo began when the Brugal family moved from Spain to the Dominican Republic and settled in Puerto Plata. The family took up sugarcane production, the only viable economic activity in the region, and they began making rum in 1888. As the article informs us, the Dominican Republic citizens prefer rum from their island. Brugal Añejo is a high-quality rum; thus, it became a top-seller in the Dominican Republic and among the top three selling rums globally. The most distinguishing feature of the bottles is the net. The practice started after a Brugal family member visited India and noticed that luxury products were presented in nets.
1. Havana Club Añejo
According to Revolucion de Cuba, the Spanish colonized Cuba soon after Christopher Columbus proclaimed it the most beautiful island he had ever seen. The Spanish took sugarcane and tobacco to the island. Thanks to its climate, both crops flourished. As per the article, Cuba became the third-largest exporter of sugar by 1850, but rum production was delayed because Spain was afraid Cuba would overtake it in exporting products. Eventually, when rum production began, Havana Club rum became the ideal representation of the high-quality rum the island could make. Local bartenders adopted their cocktail-making techniques, one of which was using Havana Club to make Cuba Libre.
What is Cuba Libre?
Cuba Libre is Spanish which means “Free Cuba.” When Cubans fought for their independence from Spain, the soldiers developed a taste for a certain drink made from water, rum, honey, or molasses; that drink was Cuba Libre. Well, that is one of the stories that tell how the cocktail came to be. The other is that when Spain surrendered, American soldiers went to Cuba. They went to a bar in Havana, and the captain ordered cola and rum on ice with some lime. According to Chilled Magazine, the soldiers enjoyed the cocktail so much that they toasted to “Por Cuba Libre,” translated to mean “To a Free Cuba.” Originally, the soldiers used Bacardi, a rum produced by Bacardi distillery, which opened its doors in 1862. However, Cuba Libre was not the first cocktail to use Barcardi - Daiquiri was. Daiquiri was made by mixing the rum with sugar shaved ice and local lime juice, and it was the invention of an American engineer in 1898. It is important to note that the first time Coca-Cola began exporting to Cuba was in 1902. However, Cuba is among the few countries worldwide where it is illegal to buy Coca-Cola due to the long-term US embargo enacted in 1962 when Fidel Castro led the Cuban revolution. You will, therefore, see that some recipes call for Mexican Coca-Cola. That is not to say you cannot use any Coke for your Cuba Libre.
Written by Lily Wordsmith
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