Use Cane Sugar Cola To Elevate The Flavors Of A Classic Cuba Libre

The Cuba Libre is a great example of how much minimalist cocktails depend on the quality of their ingredients. If you have a tiki drink with eight different bits and pieces coming together, you can get away with a lower-quality ingredient since it'll blend with other flavors. With so much going on, the end product will mask the true taste of each individual ingredient. The opposite is also true. The shorter the ingredient list, the more important it is that you get each one right.

A classic Cuba Libre is made with a light or dark rum, Coca-Cola, and a pinch of lime juice. With only three ingredients, the choice you make for each one matters a lot. For example, fresh lime juice is leagues better than artificial versions in this cocktail. Another way to elevate your Cuba Libre is to use cane sugar cola instead of regular Coca-Cola. Regular Coke uses high fructose corn syrup, Diet Coke uses aspartame, and Coke Zero uses a mixture of aspartame and acesulfame potassium (Ace-K) to sweeten the drink. Coca-Cola made in Mexico still uses cane sugar in its recipe, and while it can be found in the United States, it's not always easy to come by, so it may be easier to rely on another brand of cola that uses cane sugar as a sweetener.

How is cane sugar cola different?

Apart from being less processed than high fructose corn syrup, cane sugar tastes different. Taste is highly subjective but, during blind taste tests, people have described cane sugar cola as tasting less artificial compared to cola made with high fructose corn syrup. Being more natural is certainly important for some people, but the difference in flavor goes beyond the chemical taste of high fructose corn syrup.

If you don't drink a lot of soda, you may not be able to pinpoint which one was which in a blind taste test, but there's a good chance you would know they aren't the same drink. It's not an entirely different drink, but there's a crispness to sugar cane cola that cola sweetened with high fructose corn syrup has trouble imitating. And when you mix that with the fresh lime juice in the Cuba Libre, you're really bringing the best elements of the drink out.