What is a Cuba Libre?

Guy comes up to the bar, sits down, I approach, say, what’ll it be?  He says, I’ll have a Cuba Libre.  I say, ok.  A rum and Coke with a lime, coming right up.

I’m on the fence with trying to impress your bartenders with the names of drinks.  Occasionally, a patron will come up and exclaim, can you make me a Tooty-Fruity Brutty?!  Ok, I just made that up, but I know, deep down inside, right before the person asks the bartender for that obscure drink they got in Ontario, they KNOW the bartender is not going to know what drink they’re talking about.  So let’s work thru this problem, so we can find another solution to NOT pissing off your bartender.

This is how I’d like the exchange to go:  Hi bartender, I had a drink in a bar in Sasquatch that I really liked.  It was called the Thunderdome.  It had Kahlua, Frangelico, cream, and something else in it.  Have you ever heard of a drink like this, or something similar?

Man, if a patron dropped pure knowledge on me like that, I’d be impressed, instead of the alternative, I’d like a Thunderdome!

Watch, how your bartender rolls their eyes at that.

I’ll be perfectly honest, dropping names of obscure drinks onto your bartender can be lame, and somewhat pretentious.  That’s where the whole Cuba Libre thing comes in.  Know that the bartender knows that drink.  If they don’t, they’re not a very seasoned bartender.  And just say, could I get a rum and Coke with a lime?  And then, mark my words, the bartender will say, a Cuba Libre?  And you’ll say, yeah.  Exactly.  And know, if the exchange goes down like this, the bartender is going to respect you a great deal more, and might even give you a little extra love when making your drink.  Why?  Because point blank no bartender likes to feel like they’re being tested.  Does anyone?  

This happens very rare to me, but I kind of like it when someone says, have you been making any cocktails recently that you’re excited about?  If the bartender says yes, I GUARANTEE you’re going to get a well thought out drink.  You’re basically asking what the bartender has been drinking lately.  And when they say, yeah, I’ve been working on perfecting a Mojito, give it a try!  They might even buy it for you, since, perhaps, the bartender hasn’t perfected it quite yet, and you’re giving them practice.

-CC

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