What can you say about the old stand-by, Rum and Coke? “Not very imaginative?” “The lazy man’s cocktail?” “Is it really a cocktail?” “Do they even put that recipe in the cocktail books?” These statements may all have some validity, but the simple truth about Rum and Coke is that it just plain tastes good. Rum is made from sugar cane by-products, and is distilled almost everywhere that sugar cane grows (and probably some places it’s not); it’s usually aged in wood (often oak) barrels. Rum comes in three colors: light (I know – not really a color), gold (or amber), and dark, with the usual wide range of quality common to distilled spirits, not to mention the different styles and flavors due to place of origin. I have used light rum, gold rum, and even dark rum in my Rum and Coke, and enjoyed them all. Almost any rum can make a good Rum and Coke, but you might want to reserve your good sipping rum for just that – sipping on the rocks with a squeeze of lime. Even the Bacardi® Light based Rum and Coke served by the airlines tastes pretty good.
As for the lime, I consider it an essential ingredient of a Rum and Coke, rendering the Cuba Libre non-existent. (I used to make snap judgments of bartenders based on whether or not they automatically gave me lime with my Rum and Coke.) If you are too lazy to squeeze a fresh lime, use a squirt of lime juice. As for the coke, I prefer the real thing; some of the alternatives are too sweet. For a lower cal drink, use Diet Coke.
Rum and Coke
1 shot Rum
Coke® or Diet Coke®
Juice of ½ lime
Lime wedge or wheel
Fill a highball glass with ice. (If you like more coke, use less ice or a bigger glass). Squeeze the lime juice into the glass, then rub the lime rind around the rim to enhance the essential scent and taste of lime. Add rum (and maybe a little extra). Fill glass with Coke (no need to stir, the bubbles do it for you). Don't be afraid to experiment with proportions to arrive at your ideal Rum and Coke. Garnish with lime wedge or wheel. Heavenly!