When thinking of Cuba, cigars and rum, Che Guevara, vintage cars and the salsa probably come to mind. For most countries, these country-expectations aren’t true at all, but for Cuba this is very similar to the reality on the island. It’s a special country with an interesting history. Now we can’t get on a plane to visit Cuba ourselves, we can try to bring Cuba into our homes! What is typical Cuba? Meet: The Cuba Libre.
According to the Cubans themselves, the classic Cuban cocktail ‘Cuba Libre’ was born during the Spanish-American War (1898) in a bar in Havana, the capital of Cuba. According to the story, an American officer walked into the bar and ordered a drink which was exactly like the today’s cocktail recipe. He did this to celebrate the Spanish surrender. He raised his glass and said “Por Cuba Libre” or “To free Cuba”. This is also where the name of the drink comes from.
From that moment on, people drank the cocktail in honor of the American liberation of Cuba. After all, it were the Americans who’d liberated Cuba from Spanish rule. This is also why a real Cuba Libre is a mixture of American Coca Cola and Cuban rum.
The vintage cars that we mentioned earlier are not a romanticized image: in Cuba, it’s really like time stood still. A special country that has a place on many bucket lists, and we get why! Not only Havana, but also smaller towns such as Trinidad and the beautiful nature in Topes de Collantes, have something you can’t find anywhere else in the world. You also don’t want to miss Vinales and Santiago de Cuba. Even though the beaches at Varadero are beautiful, you would rather avoid them. They’re very touristic and it’s like you have returned to the western world through the many all-inclusive resorts.
Spending the night on the island is an experience on it’s own. You can choose to stay in one of the many Casa Particulars during your trip. The name speaks for itself: a private home. This means you will sleep in a house with locals. You can compare it with staying in an Airbnb or a Cuban style Bed & Breakfast. In a country like Cuba, where not everything is visible for tourists, spending the night in a Casa Particular feels like you’re getting a little bit closer to the real Cuban lifestyle.
These Casa Particulars are highly recommended, just like the restaurants at people’s homes. In Cuba, everything is still paid with a coupon book, which means that the only way for Cubans to literally get money on their hands is through tourists. And don’t you think it’s not luxurious in people’s homes, cause it’s rather the opposite; sometimes it’s completely decorated like a hotel or restaurant. Besides that, the vegetables are much fresher than at a restaurant owned by the government!
As for the ideal travel time for Cuba, you should think of 3 to 4 weeks. This depends on the itinerary you take, but during this time you’ll definitely be able to see the best of the country!
Does Cuba also have a place on your bucket list? Rightly so, if you ask us. Unfortunately, it’s currently not possible to travel to a cozy Casa Particular yourself, so we found the recipe for the real Cuba Libre for you. This way, you’ll still have a little piece of Cuba at home!
What do you need?
- 50 ml (Cuban) white rum
- 100 ml Coca Cola
- 3 ice cubes
- ½ lime
- Highball glass
First, make sure you put the Coca Cola in the fridge, as it is important that the Cuba Libre is fresh and cool. Then, put the ice cubes at the bottom of the highball glass. Cut the lime in half and squeeze 3 wedges lime juice over the ice, then put the squeezed lime in the glass too. Now pour the rum over the ice cubes. Then pour the coke into the glass and stir with a spoon to mix everything. Finally, use the remaining lime to smear the edge of the glass with lime juice and place it on the edge of the glass. Raise your glass: Cuba Libre!
Did you make this classic Cuban cocktail yourself at home? We are curious! Share them with us, using #SUITSUIT.
Stay healthy & stay safe.