Pre-tasting: Are two lime wedges worth it?
Today, we are going to talk about Cuba Libre vs Rum and Coke. Some people would say that these drinks are synonymous. I disagree because what sets a Cuba Libre apart for the Rum and Coke is one key ingredient: lime.
It’s also not called Rum and Coke and Lime — it’s Rum and Coke. Unless the customer asks for additional lime, you wouldn’t pop a lime in there for them.
So there you have it, the main difference between the two concoctions. But does the lime really make that big of a difference to the overall characteristic of the drink? Does it have any other differences?
Before we go into flavour, I can think of another potential difference. Cost. As someone who is just out at a bar, I would never order a Cuba Libre. There are so many drinks to choose from, why would I choose what is essentially Rum and Coke with a bit of lime juice in it. Sorry, that is the snobby me talking.
Still, odds are, if you were to order a Cuba Libre, the bartender might just take the liberty to charge you more for sounding fancy. Next time you are at a bar, try this: Order a Cuba Libre and then order a Rum and Coke and see if they charge you more. I bet they would, those swindling barkeeps. The thing is, I’d also bet that if you order a Rum and Coke with a couple of lime wedges, they will give you the wedges on the house. Life hack, I think...
Let’s talk about Highballs?
The thing about Cuba Libre and Rum and Coke is that many don’t even consider them a cocktail — they’re a highball. Here’s what I think. I think a Cuba Libre is a cocktail and a Rum and Coke is a highball.
My standard for a highball is that it is made with just two ingredients: well spirit and whatever the bar has on their gun: usual coke, juice or some other mixer. Highballs are there for efficiency, not for quality, so they are always built directly in the glass. No shaking, no stirring.
What do you think?
How to Make a Cuba Libre?
Fill glass with ice. Cut the lime into wedges and squeeze two into a glass (muddling optional). Add rum and top off with coke.
How to Make a Rum and Coke?
Please you don’t really need me to tell you, but keeping with the format:
Get a glass. Pour the shit in. Done.
Post-tasting: The lime makes all the difference.
I must admit, the Cuba Libre is a much more balanced drink thanks to the sourness of the lime. When you have a cocktail that is too sweet, bring in some sourness, and vice versa. If you have dark rum, it’s supposed to be better for dulling the sweetness of the cola as well. Go ahead, you have my permission, make yourself a rum and coke with lime at home and call it a Cuba Libre.
However, if you are at a dive bar looking to get smashed — which is probably the most popular time to be drinking a rum and coke. I’d avoid getting too fancy. Cuba Libre if you want to sound pretentious. Rum and Coke with lime if you are modest, like me. That’s the MAIN difference.
Let me know what you think about the two drinks in the comments. If you do end up ordering the both at a bar — let me know if there is a price difference from where you were.