Traditional Cuban Cocktails You Must Try

Going on vacation gives you the perfect chance to relax and unwind, which can often mean a few cocktails in the process. After all, there’s nothing better than sitting in the sunshine with a colorful concoction in your hands, right?

If you plan on visiting Cuba, you’ll be pleased to learn that they have some delicious, traditional cocktails in most hotels, bars, and restaurants. In this post, we will look at some of the best Cuban cocktails we recommend for your trip. 

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Refreshing cocktails from Cuba

Traditional Cuban cocktails offer a refreshing mixture of tropical ingredients, which are brought to life with local wisdom. Most cocktails are based on different combinations of rum, ice, aromatic, herbs, soda, liquor, lemon juice, and sugar. 

So, let’s take a look at some of the best cocktails to try while you’re visiting this vibrant and colorful part of the world.


There really is only one place to begin, and this is with Cuba’s most renowned and famous cocktail, the Mojito. The ingredients you need to make a Cuban Mojito are as follows:

  • Havana Club 3 años
  • Ice cubes
  • Sprig of yerbabuena or mint
  • Lemon juice
  • Sugar
  • Sparkling water

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There have been many international variations of this drink, which see Cuban rum substituted for tequila, soju, Metaxa, gin, and other local spirits. However, we can assure you that Mojitos made with Cuban rum are definitely a class above the rest. 

Many theories have been brought to light regarding Mojito and the origins of this cocktail. One story dates back to hundreds of years before the drink was even called a Mojito, when people in Havana would consume the same ingredients. 

Ernest Hemingway has been credited with playing a part in the drink’s name. While describing the recipe and referencing ‘mint sprig,’ he mispronounced “manojito” as “Mojito” to the bar staff at La Bodeguita del Medio. 


Unlike the other drinks we’re going to take you through on this list, you won’t actually find the Canchanchara on the menu in a lot of bars around Cuba. However, it’s the sort of drink that bartenders will definitely prepare for you if you ask for it. So, the only thing you need to do is start practicing the tongue-twisting name. 

So, what’s in a Canchanchara?

  • Aguardiente (fire water)
  • Ice
  • Still water
  • Lemon juice
  • Honey

Of all of the traditional Cuban drinks, this is one of the oldest. The origin of this drink goes all of the way back to Cuba’s wars of independence against Spain. Cuban fighters would drink this mixture to stay warm on cold nights. 

The cold version of this drink is still very popular today throughout the country, with it traditionally being served in a clay bowl.

El Presidente 

Another traditional cocktail you need to try during your trip is the El Presidente, which was named in honor of Gerardo Machado, the former Cuban president between the years 1925 and 1933. The ingredients used in this drink include:

  • White rum (Havana Club 1 año)
  • Cracked ice
  • Grenadine
  • Curacao
  • Vermouth

The drink really started to gain popularity throughout the 1920s, which was when Machado was still popular. If you don’t know much about President Machado, he was the man who gave the Capitol Building and Central Highway to Cuba. during his presidential campaign, he promised that Cuba would be turned into the “the Switzerland of the Americas.”

Cuba Libre

This is a Cuban ‘rum and coke’ – it’s simple but delicious. You only need three ingredients for this drink:

  • White rum (Havana Club 3 años)
  • Lime
  • Cola

Cuba Libre came onto the scene as soon as Coca-Cola began to ship its product to the country back in 1900. The name translates to “free Cuba” and is a reference to the country’s independence from Spain. 

You may sometimes hear this drink referred to as a Cubata, however, do be mindful that this typically means it has been made using dark rum instead of white rum. 


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Next, we have the Cubanito, which is very much like a simplified version of a Bloody Mary. It contains the following ingredients:

  • White rum (Havana Club 1 año)
  • Salt
  • Worcestershire sauce
  • Spicy sauce
  • Tomato juice
  • Lemon juice

Unlike their neighbors in Central America and Mexico, most Cubans don’t enjoy spicy sauces or foods. So, only the brave tend to drink Cubanitos. Is this the sort of drink for you?


Last but not least, we have one of Ernest Hemingway’s most-loved drinks; the Daiquiri. It’s made with the following ingredients:

  • White rum (Havana Club 3 años)
  • Ice cubes
  • Lemon juice
  • Sugar
  • Maraschino 

This was invented back in the early 20th century, and it gets its name quite simply because it was invented in the small village of Daiquiri, which is based in eastern Cuba. An American engineer who worked at one of the local iron mines at the time created this amazing drink. 

Not only did the Daiquiri extend to the rest of Cuba, but U.S. troops that served in Cuba brought the cocktail to the United States. 

Floridita, which is one of the most famous bars in Havana, has the following motto; “the cradle of the Daiquiri.” It’s here that a Spanish bartender invented the frozen version of the drink in the 1930s. 

Most restaurants and bars in Cuba serve variations of the Daiquiri that tends to be prepared using Carta Blanca 3 años, which is white Havana Club rum. Some of the different variations are as follows:

  • Daiquiri Mulata (with cocoa cream)
  • Rebelde (with mint liquor)
  • Papa Doble (no sugar and more rum than Floridita)
  • Floridita (with maraschino)
  • Hemingway
  • Strawberry
  • Banana

Enjoy delicious, traditional Cuban cocktails during your trip

As you can see, you can try many amazing Cuban cocktails during your trip. We’re sure you’ve probably heard of several of these cocktails before and maybe even tried a few! However, we assure you that you’ll be much more impressed with the cocktails when you try them in Cuba. The difference is definitely notable.