Is it Cuba Libre or Bacardi Coke

Where did the name Cuba Libre come from and why is it sometimes used instead of just saying Bacrdi/Coke (with lime). I work in the bar industry and I notice that the customers who refer to the drink as Cuba Libre are the ones that come to my work on hip hop nights as opposed to any other genre of music featured at my work. So my first assumption was that it was a newer slang term (w/in the last 20-30 years). But I found the recipe in an old bartending book and in addition, the name would lend me to believe that it derives somewhere south of the border. So as novice lexicographer I am of course interested in the origin of this. If anyone can offer insight to this, it would be appreciated.

Cuba Libre (or “Free Cuba”)

The name’s been around for a long time (it was used when I was in college in the '70s), and I suspect its newspeak origin was associated with Castro’s 1959 “liberation” :rolleyes: of Cuba.

And I stand corrected by a simulpost (wasn’t there yet on preview).

While I believe that the history of the phrase is what’s stated by Fear Itself, I also think that there’s another reason:
If you call it a Bacardi[sup]TM[/sup] & Coke, it has to be made with Bacardi (and maybe Coca Cola), whereas if you simply call it Cuba Libre, it can be made with any kind of cheap rum / cola-flavoured-beverage.

And in Cuba it’s not uncommon for Cubans asking for a Cuba Libre to ask instead for a “mentirita”, or “little lie”, but only among friends of course.

I would have thought that “rum and Coke” was the most common name for this. Doesn’t anyone order it that way now?

A real Cuba Libre isn’t just Bacardi (or any rum) and Coke (or any cola)–you gotta add some lime (or lemon) juice.

[hijack]Has anyone else tried the new flavors of Bacardi? I’m currently killing a bottle of the vanilla–not bad![/hijack]

What sort of colas are available in Cuba these days?

Can you get real Coca-Cola in Havana, or is that forbidden under the Cuban trade embargo?

You can most definitely get Coke in Cuba, bottled in Mexico I think, but that’s mostly in the tourist resorts. There’s also a local brand made by Becasa (Bebidas Caribe, SA or Caribe Drinks, Inc), which I only know as “refresco de cola”. Pricey crap too.

All you ever wanted to know about the Cuba Libre.

Great site, by the way. I also recommend the book they’re selling.

OK, and now I see I’ve duplicated Fear Itself’s cite. (Still a great site, and I still recommend the book!)

If I order a cuba libre, I want a lime. If I order a rum and coke, I don’t want a lime.

And I never want Barcardi or <shudder> Capt. Morgan spiced rum.

Wow! Thanks for all the great info everyone. I realize that I should have referred to the drink as Rum and Coke instead of the signature Bacardi Coke. The web site mentioned by Fear Itself and Shelbo shows a recipe that calls for two extra ingredients - gin and bitters (I always put a lime unless asked not to). Chukhung also mentioned that the drink is sometimes referred to “mentirita”. A funny thing about that is that I have had only 2-3 people refer to it as that but never directly. They usually ask me if I know what a “mentirita” is, to which I respond “a liar”. Then they say never mind just give me a cuba libre. Hmmm, is there some hidden joke that I am missing?

Opps sorry, I was re-reading the things that everyone wrote and noticed that the reference to “mentirita” was made by Bayonet1976 not chukhung. Sorry.

Actually, where I work (Downtown Chicago) I rarely hear it referred to as Rum and Coke any more. People are more specific by saying either Bacardi Coke or Captian Coke. But that is not to say that the rest of the world follows this trend. I also noticed that it doesn’t necessarily stand true for other types of alcohol. The majority of people still say Vodka Tonic or Vodka Cranberry, instead of Grey Goose and Tonic or Absolut and Cranberry.