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Old Cuban

The Old Cuban is a refreshing drink that’s actually a modern twist on two beloved cocktails: the Mojito and the French 75. Created by New York bartender Audrey Saunders in 2001, the Old Cuban quickly became a favorite among cocktail enthusiasts.

Boozy Refreshing Old Cuban Cocktail with Rum Lime and Champagne

The Old Cuban is made with aged rum, mint, lime juice, simple syrup, and champagne. The result is a delicious and refreshing cocktail that perfectly balances sweet, sour, and bitter flavors. The Old Cuban is a popular choice for those who enjoy sparkling wine cocktails, and it’s easy to see why. With its unique blend of flavors and aromas, the Old Cuban is a must-try for any cocktail enthusiast.

History

The Old Cuban cocktail is a modern classic that was created in 2001 by Audrey Saunders, a renowned modern bartender who worked at the Pegu Club in New York. Saunders is known for her innovative approach to classic cocktails, and the Old Cuban is a perfect example of her creativity. 

Old Cuban cocktail on wooden table.

The Old Cuban cocktail quickly gained popularity in the cocktail world and is now considered a classic. It is also an IBA official cocktail, which means it is recognized worldwide as a standard cocktail.

Saunders created the Old Cuban cocktail while working at a New York restaurant called the Beacon. The cocktail takes inspiration from the Mojito, but it features a few important tweaks that result in a unique flavor experience. Saunders’ goal was to create a lively yet elegant Champagne cocktail with a neotropical edge.

How to Make It

Boozy Refreshing Old Cuban Cocktail with Rum Lime and Champagne

Old Cuban

Yield: 1

Ingredients

  • ¾ ounce freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 1 ounce simple syrup 
  • 6-8 mint leaves 
  • 1 ½ ounces aged rum 
  • 2 dashes of Angostura bitters 
  • 2 ounces champagne or sparkling wine
  • Ice
  • Lime wedge or mint sprig for garnish

Instructions

  1. Mix simple syrup and lime juice in a cocktail shaker. Muddle the mint leaves gently with a wooden spoon or muddler (bruise the leaves, so the flavor seeps out). 
  2. Add rum and bitters, then fill the rest of the shaker with ice. 
  3. Shake until the mixture is thoroughly chilled. 
  4. Pour through a double strainer (to avoid bits of mint leaves) into a chilled cocktail glass. 
  5. Top with champagne and garnish. 

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Choosing Your Rum

The best rum to use for an Old Cuban is an aged rum with a rich and complex flavor profile. Some popular choices include Bacardi 8, Havana Club Añejo 7 Años, and Ron Zacapa 23.

Variations

The Old Cuban cocktail is a classic rum cocktail that has been around for over a decade. It has become a staple in many bars and cocktail recipes books. However, there are many variations of the Old Cuban cocktail that you can try to mix things up. Here are a few variations to consider:

See also  6 Simple Syrup Substitutes for Cocktails

Sparkling Wine

The original Old Cuban cocktail recipe calls for Champagne, but you can use other types of sparkling wine such as Prosecco or Cava. These wines are less expensive than Champagne and can be just as delicious. The use of sparkling wine adds a bubbly texture to the cocktail, which makes it perfect for celebrations.

Old Fashioned Twist

If you love Old Fashioned cocktails, you can try adding a twist to the Old Cuban cocktail by adding a few dashes of bitters. This gives the cocktail a more complex flavor profile and a deeper color. It’s a great way to add a little something extra to the classic recipe.

Martini Style

If you prefer a drier cocktail, you can try making an Old Cuban cocktail in a martini style. Instead of using Champagne, you can use dry vermouth and garnish with a lemon twist. This variation is perfect for those who prefer their cocktails less sweet.

Manhattan Style

Another variation you can try is the Manhattan style Old Cuban cocktail. Instead of using Champagne, you can use a splash of sweet vermouth and garnish with a cherry. This variation gives the cocktail a richer flavor and is perfect for those who love classic cocktails.

Mojito Inspired

The Old Cuban cocktail is already inspired by the Mojito, but you can take it a step further by adding more mint leaves and a splash of soda water. This gives the cocktail a more refreshing taste and is perfect for those hot summer days.

Old Cuban
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Paul Kushner

Written by Paul Kushner

Founder and CEO of MyBartender. Graduated from Penn State University. He always had a deep interest in the restaurant and bar industry. His restaurant experience began in 1997 at the age of 14 as a bus boy. By the time he turned 17 he was serving tables, and by 19 he was bartending/bar managing 6-7 nights a week.

In 2012, after a decade and a half of learning all facets of the industry, Paul opened his first restaurant/bar. In 2015, a second location followed, the latter being featured on The Food Network’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives.

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