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Diversify National Mojito Day With These Lesser-Known Cuban Cocktails


best cuban cocktails
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Get your muddlers out, because today is National Mojito Day! The stone cold classic originated in Cuba and is the perfect mid-July sipper. It’s rum-based with simple syrup, lime, soda water, and mint and those herbaceous, clean flavors feel just right this time of year. It’s also very permutable — common riffs include swapping basil for mint and switching out the rum with Rhum Agricole or cachaça.

The mojito itself is absolutely worth celebrating, but since Cuba has given the world so many mixed drinks that don’t get holidays, we thought it’d be nice to shout out some of the other tasty, iconic cocktails that were created on the island. Check out our favorites, with recipes, below.

Cuba Libre

Also known as a rum and coke (with citrus), the Cuba Libre was first created in Cuba in the early 1900s. Even though the official origins aren’t known, but this combination of cola, rum, and lime juice is so good we don’t really care.

  • 4 ounces of cola
  • 2 ounces of rum
  • Fresh-squeezed lime juice
  • Ice cubes

El Presidente

This drink was first popularized in Havana in the 1920s, contains orange curaçao as well as white rum, vermouth, and Grenadine.

  • 2 ounces of white rum
  • ¾ ounces orange curaçao
  • 3⁄4 oz of dry vermouth
  • 1 splash of Grenadine

Papa Doble

Ernest Hemingway spent a lot of time in Cuba. When he wasn’t writing, he was drinking. One of his favorite drinks was this daiquiri variation (made with rum, grapefruit juice, lime juice, and Luxardo) that he imbibed often at the El Floridita bar in Havana.

  • Ice cubes
  • 2 ounces of rum
  • 1/2 ounce of grapefruit juice
  • 1/2 ounce of lime juice
  • 1/4 ounce of Luxardo

Daiquiri

Probably the most classic of all Cuban cocktails, the Daiquiri carries the same name as a beach on the island. The drink itself was likely invented by an American named Jennings Cox who worked in Cuba in the early 1900s. The combination of rum, lime juice, and simple syrup remains a summer staple to this day.

  • 1 1/2 ounces of white rum
  • 3/4 ounces of fresh lime juice
  • 1/4 ounces of simple syrup

Hotel Nacional

The drink was named for the famous hotel it was invented at (and is still served to this day), the Hotel Nacional. The combination of white rum, apricot liqueur, pineapple juice, lime juice, and simple syrup is refreshing, sweet and perfect for a hot, summer day.

  • 1 1⁄2 ounces of white rum
  • 1⁄4 ounces of apricot liqueur
  • 1 ounce of pineapple juice
  • 1⁄2 ounce of lime juice
  • 1⁄2 ounce of simple syrup

El Floridita

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Ernest Hemingway

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No Cuban cocktails list is complete without at least two references to Ernest Hemingway. This cocktail, also made at the famed El Floridita bar, was so popular it was named after the establishment. Hemingway enjoyed the combination of rum, lime juice, and maraschino liqueur.

  • 1 ¾ ounces of white rum
  • 1 ounce of lime juice
  • ¾ ounces of maraschino liqueur

Canchanchara

An early ancestor of the classic daiquiri, the Canchanchara first gained notoriety when it was imbibed by Cuban revolutionaries in the 1800s. We can see why it’s still popular today — as the combination of white rum, lemon juice, and honey is like a refreshing, tropical Hot Toddy (minus the hot).

  • 2 ounces of white rum
  • 1 ½ ounces of fresh lemon juice
  • 3 spoons of honey

Cubanito

Cuba’s version of the Bloody Mary, the Cubanito is fresh, vibrant, and exciting. Just like the vodka-based Bloody Mary, this drink is completely customizable based on your likes and dislikes. The basic recipe consists of rum, hot sauce, and tomato juice.

  • 2 teaspoons of fresh lime juice
  • ½ teaspoon of pepper
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon of salt
  • 1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 dash hot sauce
  • 1 1⁄2 ounces light rum
  • 3 ounces tomato juice
  • Ice cubes
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