Old Cuban Cocktail: The Cuba Libre Has A Worthy Contender
Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

You might have heard about the French 75 ā€”  a cocktail made from gin, champagne, lemon juice, and sugar. In French, its known simply as "Soixante Quinze". It has a bit of an interesting history as cocktails go: its origins are traced back to World War I when an early version of the drink was created in 1915 at Paris' New York Bar. If that name sounds familiar, that's because it is: the same bar would be rechristened Harry's New York Bar, after its star (and the creator of the French 75) Harry MacElhone.

This isn't about the French 75 though, but about a Cuban cocktail that's described as "similar, but better". Now that's a challenge to the Soixante Quinze! And before you conclude that we're talking about the Cuba Libre, we'll clarify and say we're not. We're referring to the "Old Cuban".

While Old Cuban has traits in common with a mojito (or, as we said, the French 75), it is a more satisfying drink. It is made with amber rum and topped with bubbly; in short, an excellent and effervescent summer drink that'll have your tastebuds (literally) tingling.

Despite its name, the Old Cuban is actually a pretty young cocktail: it was created as recently as 2001, by mixologist Audrey Saunders.

Its not too long lineage aside, it's still a worthy contender to the Cuba Libre. But if you won't take our word for it, try this recipe (courtesy the good folks over at Simmer + Sauce), and judge for yourself. 


2 basil leaves

1 ounce freshly squeezed lime juice

1 ounce simple syrup

1 1/2 ounce good quality amber rum

2 dashes Angostura bitters

2 ounces Champagne


In a cocktail shaker, add the basil leaves and lime juice. Using a muddler, muddle i.e. gently mash the basil leaves. 

Add the simple syrup, rum, butters and a handful of ice. Shake vigorously for 20 seconds.

Strain into a coupe glass and top with Champagne to serve.