A riff on the classic Mojito, the Old Cuban offers a surprising blend of aged rum and prosecco ! It’s fairly easy to make, and doesn’t require you to take too many steps, despite the slightly longer ingredient list.
What is Old Cuban ?
Not only does the Old Cuban look great, it tastes surprisingly good ! This is a Mojito-based drink, topped with prosecco to make it just a little different. Personally I love the added prosecco but it works just as fine with dry sparkling wine if that is all you have (that’s all I had).
I think the name is actually clever, in a dad-joke sort of way. Where a Mojito uses white rum, this drink uses aged rum.
- 1.5 oz aged rum
- 2 oz dry sparkling wine or prosecco
- 2-3 dashes aromatic bitter
- 1 oz simple syrup
- 0.75 oz fresh lime juice
- 4-6 mint leaves
- brown sugar for garnish
- Wet the lip of a Martini glass with the lime, then dip into brown sugar.
- In a shaker combine rum, bitter, simple syrup, lime juice, mint leaves, and ice. Shake to combine.
- Strain into the Martini glass, top with prosecco/sparkling wine.
- The original recipe calls for aromatic bitters, but you can use any bitter if you want a more specific flavor.
- The sugar rim is optional, but I think it makes for better presentation.
- Angostura bottles spit everywhere, so tilt the shaker and have the bottle almost in.
When is this drink best ?
The Old Cuban is surprisingly refreshing, not something you’d expect from a rum-based drink. But the sparkling wine/prosecco and lime juice make it a great after-dinner cocktail, especially if you’ve had a larger meal and need some help digesting.
I don’t see it as a very seasonal drink, so I think it works very well year-round. Maybe the mimosa changed my perception but nowadays anything topped with sparkling wine feels smart-casual to me, so I guess this could work very well at weddings, office parties, and even on the regular menu for an upscale bar.
My thoughts on Old Cuban
The addition of prosecco/sparkling wine/champagne in this drink makes it feel much lighter, I think. It’s not the lightest drink but it’s definitely not as rich as a Negroni Sbagliato (also topped with prosecco) or as sweet as a Hugo (way more sparkling wine).
My initial impression tasting this cocktail was a pleasant blend of sweet and sour, but it wasn’t overwhelming. I really, really enjoy the touch of the sparkling wine, and the Angostura bitter gives it a bit of depth. It’d probably be fine without it, but it just works better with.
If you like Old Cuban, you might also like…
Queen’s Park Hotel Super Cocktail – equal parts sweet and sour, rum-based, and balanced with vermouth
Daiquiri – the original sour, rum and lime juice
Mojito – the inspiration behind the Old Cuban
Cable Car – a spiced rum sour
French 75 – a gin and champagne cocktail
Airmail – a white rum and champagne cocktail
Notes, substitutes, and tips
Prosecco, sparkling wine, and champagne are essentially interchangeable in the grand scheme of things. The production method is largely the same, and as long as you’re getting dry sparkling wine, and not the cheapest you can find, it will taste just fine. Of course, prosecco does taste a little better, and champagne is a protected label, but the general effect and flavor is similar enough you can use any of these.
Aged rum has a richer taste than other versions, but gold rum will work too. Spiced rum might work well too, but I haven’t tried that yet.
If you want to give this more depth of flavor (and way more color) you could try Demerara syrup.