Rumba Libre

Jen Akin, Rumba | Seattle, WA

At Rumba, a rum-focused bar in Seattle, this drink, a twist on the Cuba Libre, was originally pre-bottled. “We had custom bottle openers made with our logo on it,” recalls general manager Jen Akin. “It was served as a kit with a block of ice, lime [to squeeze or garnish] and you got to keep the bottle opener. It was cute.” Yet, it was challenging to keep the bubbles for longer than a few days; the drink is now served on tap instead. The below is a home-friendly version of the cocktail.


Serving: 1

  • 1 1/2 ounces Cuban rum, preferably Bacardi Quatro or Cana Brava 3 Year
  • 1 1/2 ounces Cuban rum, preferably Bacardi Quatro or Cana Brava 3 Year
  • 1/2 ounce Amaro Averna
  • 1/2 ounce Amaro Averna
  • 1 ounce Cola Syrup (see Editor's Note)
  • 1 ounce Cola Syrup (see Editor's Note)
  • 2 ounces soda water
  • 2 ounces soda water

Garnish: lime wedge

  1. Combine all ingredients in a Collins glass over ice.
  2. Garnish with a lime wedge.
Editor's Note

Rumba’s cola syrup recipe follows, but as an alternative, Akin also suggests Bigallet Cola Syrup, which can be purchased on Amazon. When mixing the drink, add a squeeze of lime juice to add the tartness that citric acid would otherwise supply.

Cola Syrup:
zest of two oranges
zest of 1 lemon
zest of 1 lime
6 3-inch cinnamon sticks, crushed
2 tablespoons dried bitter orange peel
2 teaspoons whole coriander seed
1/4 teaspoon grated nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon dried lavender
1 star anise pod
2 tablespoons ginger, minced
1 whole vanilla bean, split and scraped
1/4 teaspoon citric acid powder
4 cups water
4 cups white sugar

In a saucepan, combine all ingredients except sugar. Bring to a boil and simmer, covered, for 20 minutes. Remove from heat. Add sugar, and stir until dissolved. Strain, and let cool. Bottle and refrigerate for up to two weeks.

Tagged: rum & coke