Improving the Cuba Libre and the Gin & Tonic

  • Post published:October 29, 2021
  • Post category:Cocktails

These two are the drinks that probably everyone knows – the Cuba Libre and the Gin & Tonic. In the past, there has even been some argument as to whether they are cocktails or not. I would argue that the Gin & Tonic is not – at least not in its simplest form. By contrast, the Cuba Libre is (it contains lime juice in addition to rum and coke). In any case, they are dead simple longdrinks and while they are excellent in principle (I do not want to doubt that), one might wish for a bit more complexity at times. Today, we will consider two recipes that try to accomplish just that: The Cuba Libre Preparado and Gin & Tonic Milanese.

Gin and Tonic Milanese and Cuba Libre Preparado

Turning classic longdrinks into the Cuba Libre Preparado and the Gin & Tonic Milanese

Let’s start with the easy one, the Cuba Libre. It is derived from the Rum and Coke, which has often been criticized for being somewhat cloying. The addition of lime juice (going from a Rum and Coke to a Cuba Libre) most certainly helps with that. However, some people just don’t have that sweet of a tooth. The Cuba Libre Preparado is meant to be a solution to that and has been commented on by German cocktail blog “Cocktailbart” and by the famous YouTube channel The Educated Barfly (and, most likely, others as well).

It tries to act upon the “excess sweetness” in the drink by adding some dry gin and, for some extra complexity, Angostura bitters.

What’s wrong with my G&T?

There is nothing wrong with a standard G&T, but recently, there has definitely been kind of a trend to add some Campari to the mix. In a way, this resembles the approach of creating the Cuba Libre Preparado, as it adds a wholly new dimension of flavor. On the other hand, it is clearly a nod to the Campari soda.

The recipes

If you read so far in the article, I guess it is quite obvious what to do. I would even argue it should be very easy to tweak the following recipes even more to your liking.

Cuba Libre Preparado

Cuba Libre Preparado

 60 ml Cuban Rum
 20 ml Dry Gin
 20 ml Lime juice
 3 dashes Angostura bitters
 Top up with coke (approx. 150 ml)
 Lime wedge for garnish

Ingredients

 60 ml Cuban Rum
 20 ml Dry Gin
 20 ml Lime juice
 3 dashes Angostura bitters
 Top up with coke (approx. 150 ml)
 Lime wedge for garnish

Directions

Cuba Libre Preparado

Gin & Tonic Milanese

 50 ml Dry Gin
 25 ml Campari
 Top up with tonic water (approx. 100 ml)
 Add an orange slice for garnish

Ingredients

 50 ml Dry Gin
 25 ml Campari
 Top up with tonic water (approx. 100 ml)
 Add an orange slice for garnish

Directions

Gin and Tonic Milanese
Gin and Tonic Milanese

Flavor mapping the Cuba Libre Preparado and the Gin & Tonic Milanese

Obviously, we will once again make use of our very own flavor map to do this.

The Cuba Libre Preparado

With regard to the basic flavor, adding some gin to the Cuba Libre does a perfect job. The resulting drink is very balanced and, as it is less sweet as standard Cuba Libres, lighter and more refreshing. Definitely recommended!

The Gin & Tonic Milanese

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Maybe there should be a word of warning: The G&T Milanese distinctly tastes of Campari. If you like that, this drink is for you. Obviously, it is quite bitter. The tonic water makes it mineral as is common with G&Ts, the Campari makes it herbaceous. It is a nicely bitter, super refreshing longdrink. It is like the child of a Campari Soda and a Gin & Tonic. If you are into bitter drinks, you should definitely try this as well!

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