A History of the Old Cuban

A detailed history of the Old Cuban cocktail, and how word of it spread internationally so quickly in the early '00s. Those early trips Audrey Saunders made to London paid off.


Thanks, man. Great read, as usual.

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I’m probably the guy who put the Old Cuban on ECC’s opening menu. Romee, Olivier, Pierre and I made a lot of them in their rented apartment on Rue Saint-Martin.


My first bartending job in NYC was at the Meatball shop in Williamsburg. I distinctly remember seeing the Old Cuban on their (very limited, only 4 drinks) cocktail menu and assuming it was a revival of a classic cocktail. I had just moved from Miami and was shocked that it hadn’t been on cocktail menus there, as it seemed a perfect fit for the climate and culture. It was nearly a year later, when I met Rene Hidalgo and got to talking to him about the menu that I was informed of its provenance. It’s been one of my favorite “dealer’s choice” surprises since. I went back to Miami for a rum conference a 18 months ago and did a pop up while in town. “El Cubano Viejo” ran through our prep in under an hour, and we sent runners searching local stores for champagne for the rest of the event.


Great story. It’s so interesting how some modern classics are thought to be old classics. Many people think the Penicillin is a pre-Prohibition cocktail.

Which is particularly pathetic, considering the drug was invented in 1928 and not commonly known until WW2.

History is not Americans’ strong suit. And cocktail history is no exception.