The world’s second most popular drink was born in a collision between the United States and Spain. It happened during the Spanish-American War at the turn of the century when Teddy Roosevelt, the Rough Riders, and Americans in large numbers arrived in Cuba. One afternoon, a group of off-duty soldiers from the U.S. Signal Corps were gathered in a bar in Old Havana. Fausto Rodriguez, a young messenger, later recalled that Captain Russell came in and ordered Bacardi (Gold) rum and Coca-Cola on ice with a wedge of lime. The captain drank the concoction with such pleasure that it sparked the interest of the soldiers around him. They had the bartender prepare a round of the captain’s drink for them. The Bacardi rum and Coke was an instant hit. As it does to this day, the drink united the crowd in a spirit of fun and good fellowship. When they ordered another round, one soldier suggested that they toast ¡Por Cuba Libre! in celebration of the newly freed Cuba. The captain raised his glass and sang out the battle cry that had inspired Cuba’s victorious soldiers in the War of Independence.
As the Cuba Libre was first invented using Bacardi Rum, the story of the Bacardi logo as the infamous bat is also quite interesting.
In 1867, Don Facundo Bacardi Masso purchased a small tin-roofed distillery for 3,500 pesos in Santiago de Cuba. Legend has it that when the founder of he was looking for a factory to start a distillery, he found a building that had fruit bats living up in the roof. Fruit bats considered to be a good omen so he bought the factory. When he was ready to start selling Bacardi Rum, it was his wife who suggested using the bat logo because it was easily recognizable. Because of the low literacy rate, it would be easier for people to pick out the bottle that contained, “el ron de murcielagos”, the rum of the bats