Cuba Libre (Rum & Coke): Easy 2-Ingredient Cocktail [The Ultimate Guide]

The Cuba Libre, or Rum & Coke, is a classic cocktail that combines white rum, Coca-Cola, and fresh lime juice, typically served over ice in a highball glass and garnished with a lime wedge. Originating in Cuba during the Spanish-American War (“Cuba Libre” means “Free Cuba”), it is an iconic blend of sweet, sour, and effervescent flavors. Ideal for various occasions, the drink pairs well with a range of foods. Its enduring popularity and historical roots make it a must-try cocktail for both novices and aficionados alike.

Why Should You Try It?

Why is Cuba Libre (Rum & Coke) so popular?

The Cuba Libre is a cocktail that’s stood the test of time, enjoyed by people across generations and continents. Its balanced blend of sweet, sour, and effervescent elements make it irresistibly drinkable. It is also incredibly easy to make, requiring no specialized equipment or rare ingredients—just rum, Coca-Cola, lime, and ice.

  • Universal Ingredients: Found in virtually any grocery or liquor store
  • Ease of Preparation: No complicated bartending techniques required
  • Rich Flavor Profile: Balanced, yet complex enough to be intriguing
  • Widespread Appeal: From backyard BBQs to upscale lounges
  • Iconic: Known and loved globally
  • Historical Roots: A sip of history in each glass


When it comes to making a Cuba Libre (Rum & Coke), the ingredients are simple but their quality can make or break your cocktail. You’ll need 1.7 oz (50 ml) of white rum, 4 oz (120 ml) of Coca Cola, and a splash of fresh lime juice, around 0.3 oz (10 ml). To garnish, grab a lime wedge and don’t forget the ice!

  • White Rum: 50 ml (1.7 oz; approximately 1 and 2/3 oz)
  • Coca Cola: 120 ml (4 oz)
  • Fresh Lime Juice: 10 ml (0.3 oz; approximately 1/3 oz)
  • Lime Wedge: For garnish
  • Ice: Cubes

Substitute Ingredients

Can’t find white rum or want to shake things up? You can opt for spiced rum or even dark rum for a more robust flavor. If you’re out of Coca Cola, Pepsi can fill in (though purists might disagree)!

  • Alternate rums: Spiced, dark, or flavored
  • Soda alternatives: Pepsi, artisanal cola

Flavor Profile

The white rum in Cuba Libre (Rum & Coke) lends a sugarcane sweetness that gets elevated by the caramel notes of the cola. The fresh lime juice adds a zesty kick, making the drink both refreshing and complex.

  1. Sweet from rum
  2. Caramel undertones from cola
  3. Citrusy zing from lime


While the ingredients are straightforward, the proportions are key to achieving a well-balanced Cuba Libre (Rum & Coke). A common ratio is 1 part rum to 2.5 parts Coca Cola, with 0.5 lime juice.

  • Recommended ratio: 1 part rum, 2.5 parts cola, 0.5 part lime

Pro Tip: Feel free to adjust to your own taste, keeping these ratios as a guide. While sticking to the recommended ratio will ensure a well-balanced drink, the beauty of cocktail-making lies in the flexibility and personalization of proportions.

Best Ingredients

Good-quality ingredients are crucial for a memorable Cuba Libre (Rum & Coke). Opt for a premium white rum. As for coke, try using a craft cola for a unique twist. Freshly squeezed lime juice is a must. Please steer clear of the bottled stuff.

  • Premium white rums
  • Craft colas for a unique twist
  • Freshly squeezed lime juice only

In my experience, investing in premium ingredients seriously levels up your Cuba Libre game. Once you’ve tried one with top-shelf rum and fresh lime, there’s no going back!

Tools & Equipment

Crafting the perfect Cuba Libre (Rum & Coke) requires more than just the right ingredients; you also need the proper tools. A highball glass is the traditional choice for serving this cocktail. You’ll also need a jigger for precise measurement, a bar spoon for stirring, and a knife and cutting board for the lime.

  1. Highball Glass: For serving
  2. Jigger: For precise measurement
  3. Bar Spoon: For stirring the cocktail
  4. Knife & Cutting Board: For slicing the lime


The beauty of the Cuba Libre (Rum & Coke) is in its simplicity. Start by filling your highball glass with ice cubes. Use your jigger to measure and pour 1.7 oz (50 ml) of white rum over the ice. Add 4 oz (120 ml) of Coca Cola, and top it off with a splash of freshly squeezed lime juice. Stir gently with a bar spoon and garnish with a lime wedge.

  1. Fill a highball glass with ice cubes.
  2. Measure and pour 1.7 oz (50 ml) of white rum.
  3. Add 4 oz (120 ml) of Coca Cola.
  4. Splash in 0.3 oz (10 ml) of fresh lime juice.
  5. Stir gently with a bar spoon.
  6. Garnish with a lime wedge.

Stir or Shake

In the cocktail world, the debate of stirring versus shaking is eternal. For the Cuba Libre (Rum & Coke), stirring is the way to go. Shaking introduces aeration and dilution, which can alter the cocktail’s flavors. A simple, gentle stir with a bar spoon suffices to meld the flavors without changing the drink’s character.

  • Stick to stirring, not shaking
  • Use a bar spoon for a gentle mix


Ice is not just for chilling; it’s a crucial component that can affect dilution. For the best Cuba Libre (Rum & Coke), use ice cubes rather than crushed ice. Cubes melt slower, preventing the drink from becoming too watered down.

  • Use ice cubes for slower dilution
  • Fill the glass to the top with ice
  • Pre-chill glass before serving


Got some pre-mixed or leftover Cuba Libre? While it’s best enjoyed fresh, you can store a premixed cocktail in the fridge for up to 24 hours. Any longer and you risk losing the carbonation and zestiness that make this drink special.

  • Store in the fridge for up to 24 hours
  • Use a sealable glass container to maintain freshness

Scaling for a Group

Throwing a party? The Cuba Libre (Rum & Coke) is easy to scale. Just maintain the ratio of 1 part rum to 2.5 parts Coca Cola and a splash of lime. Mix in a large pitcher or drink dispenser and serve over individual glasses of ice.

  • Maintain the 1:2.5:05 rum to cola to lime ratio
  • Use a large pitcher or drink dispenser


Mistakes happen to the best of us, but the most common ones with a Cuba Libre (Rum & Coke) are easily avoidable. Using low-quality ingredients or the wrong type of ice can ruin the cocktail. Over-stirring or shaking can also dilute the flavors. Stick to the basics, and you can’t go wrong.

  • Avoid low-quality ingredients
  • Don’t over-stir with ice
  • Use ice cubes, not crushed ice


The presentation of a Cuba Libre can make or break the experience. This classic cocktail does not require anything extravagant, but attention to detail matters. A well-chilled highball glass, a neatly cut lime wedge, and a stylish straw can elevate your cocktail game.

  • Keep it simple yet elegant
  • Attention to detail is key


Traditionally, the Cuba Libre (Rum & Coke) is served in a highball glass. Its tall and slender design allows the carbonated cola to maintain its fizz. But if you want to mix things up, an Old Fashioned glass or even a Mason jar can add a unique touch.

  • Highball Glass: The traditional choice
  • Old Fashioned Glass: A suitable alternative
  • Mason Jar: For a rustic touch


The classic garnish for a Cuba Libre (Rum & Coke) is a lime wedge, but do not let tradition limit your creativity. Consider garnishing with a sprig of mint for an aromatic twist or even a slice of jalapeño for those who like a bit of spice. For a festive occasion, a colorful cocktail umbrella can also be a fun addition.

  • Lime Wedge: The timeless classic. You can also use a wheel or twist of lime.
  • Mint Sprig: An aromatic twist
  • Jalapeño Slice: For a spicy kick
  • Cocktail Umbrella: For festive flair

When I throw parties, I like to offer a “garnish bar” where guests can choose their own creative garnishes. It adds an interactive element and lets everyone personalize their Cuba Libre.


The Cuba Libre (Rum & Coke) is a classic for a reason, but that doesn’t mean you can’t have fun experimenting with it! Whether you’re a cocktail purist or a daring mixologist, there are plenty of ways to add your own flair.

Here are some of the most popular cocktails that are similar to Cuba Libre (Rum & Coke):

  • Dark & Stormy: Swap out the white rum for dark rum and replace the cola with ginger beer.
  • Rum & Ting: Use grapefruit soda instead of cola for a tropical twist.
  • Spiced Cuba Libre: Use spiced rum instead of white rum.
  • Cherry Libre: Add a splash of cherry liqueur or use cherry-flavored cola.
  • Diet Cuba Libre: For a low-calorie version, use diet cola.
  • Italian Libre: Replace cola with an Italian bitter soda like Chinotto.
  • Coconut Libre: Add a splash of coconut water for a tropical feel.

And here are more easy cocktails that you can make with only 2 ingredients.


Creating your own variation of Cuba Libre (Rum & Coke) involves both classic and creative ingredient swaps. Here’s how:

  • Base Spirit: While rum is traditional, you could try tequila or even gin.
  • Carbonated Mixer: Switch out the cola for a different soda, seltzer, or tonic water.
  • Citrus: Experiment with other citrus fruits like lemon, grapefruit, or even yuzu.
  • Sweetener: Replace the cola with a homemade syrup for a craft cocktail vibe.
  • Spices and Herbs: Think beyond the lime wedge and consider adding fresh herbs like basil or thyme.

Serving Occasions

The Cuba Libre (Rum & Coke) is a versatile cocktail that fits a multitude of settings. It’s equally at home at a casual barbecue as it is at a more formal cocktail party. Given its easy-going nature, you can serve it year-round, making it perfect for virtually any occasion.

  • Casual Gatherings: BBQs, picnics, game nights
  • Formal Events: Cocktail parties, dinner events
  • Seasonal: Suitable for all seasons

Food Pairings

Pairing the right food with your Cuba Libre (Rum & Coke) can take the experience from good to phenomenal. Given the cocktail’s Caribbean roots, it pairs exceptionally well with tropical and spicy cuisines. Here are some suggestions:

  • Cheese Platter: The fat in cheese balances the acidity and sweetness of the drink.
  • Spicy Seafood: Think ceviche or spicy shrimp cocktails.
  • Tacos: The zesty flavors in tacos complement the rum and lime.
  • Fried Plantains: A Caribbean staple that’s a natural fit.
  • Grilled Chicken: Particularly when seasoned with Caribbean spices.

In my experience, a platter of spicy chicken wings alongside a chilled Cuba Libre never fails to impress guests. It’s a pairing that harmonizes so well, you’d think they were made for each other.


The Cuba Libre is more than just a cocktail; it is a drink steeped in history and cultural significance. Originating during the Spanish-American War, it symbolizes Cuba’s fight for independence. While the true inventor is up for debate, the cocktail is thought to have been popularized by American soldiers and Cuban revolutionaries who mixed local rum with Coca-Cola and a splash of lime. The name “Cuba Libre” itself, translating to “Free Cuba“, is a revolutionary cry that encapsulates the spirit of freedom and change. So when you’re sipping on this classic cocktail, you’re not just enjoying a delicious drink; you are also partaking in a piece of history.

Over to you – make yourself a Cuba Libre and don’t forget to share your masterpeice with us on social media! >>>

Cuba Libre Rum and Coke Cocktail

Cuba Libre (Rum & Coke): Easy 2-Ingredient Cocktail

Make the iconic Cuba Libre by blending white rum, Coca-Cola, and fresh lime juice, served over ice in a highball glass and finished with a lime wedge garnish; a perfectly balanced cocktail best enjoyed at social gatherings or relaxed evenings.
Total Time 2 minutes
Print Recipe Pin Recipe


  • 1 Highball glass (for serving)
  • 1 Measuring jigger (for measuring)
  • 1 Bar spoon (for stirring)
  • 1 Knife and cutting board (for slicing lime)


  • 1⅔ oz White rum
  • 4 oz Coca-Cola
  • oz Lime juice (fresh)
  • 1 wedge Lime wheel/wedge (for garnish)


  • Fill a highball glass with ice cubes to chill the glass.
  • Pour white rum over the ice.
  • Squeeze in fresh lime juice to add that citrusy kick.
  • Top off with Coca-Cola, stirring gently to mix the flavors but not lose the effervescence.
  • Garnish with a lime wedge, adding that final touch of zest.


Calories: 154kcalCarbohydrates: 12gProtein: 0.1gFat: 0.03gSodium: 5mgPotassium: 15mgFiber: 0.1gSugar: 10gVitamin A: 5IUVitamin C: 3mgCalcium: 4mgIron: 0.2mg
Calories: 154kcal
Course: Drinks
Cuisine: Cocktail
Keyword: Coca-Cola, Cuba Libre, rum
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