The History Of The Cuba Libre.
The Cuban Libre’s common origin story was invented in late 1800 during the Spanish-American War of 1898. John Pemberton sold his rights to Coca-Cola in 1896, and within a few years, Coke was one of the most popular Sodas in the United States. Who knows, but two years is very little time for a soft drink to travel internationally. What we know is the first published work to mention the Cuba Libre cocktail that I could find comes from the 1928 book “When It’s Cocktail Time in Cuba” by Basil Woon. He doesn’t provide a recipe, but he mentions it by name. The first cocktail book to publish a Cuba Libre recipe is the 1935 Waldorf-Astoria Bar Book.
What is interesting is the Cuba libre is not mentioned in a single Cuban cocktail book or cookbook till 1939. A 1931 Cookbook called “Cuban Cookery” by Blanche de Baralt does not mention it. She provides a very insightful history of drinking culture in Cuba with many drink recipes and the most likely true origin of the Daiquiri. Both the early Bar La Florida and Sloppy Joe’s Books do not mention the Cuba Libre. Not till the 1939 Sloppy Joe’s book that any Cuban publication even says it. Bar La Florida never published a Cuba Libre recipe. So the timeline of it is a little weird. It existed in the late 1920s and was known by many American bartenders by the mid-1930s; it was not written down in its country of origin until the late 1930s. Not quite sure what to make of that, and I don’t want to infer too much blindly. Who knows, It could mean nothing.