Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Santo Libre a-la Brugal

I came across an article the other day on the Drink Spirits blog entitled Brugal Rum - The Spirit of the Dominican Republic. It is an interesting article on the history and operations of the number one selling rum in the Dominican Republic. The author talks about a few ways that Brugal (and rums in general) are consumed. They mention Brugal over ice, with coke in the traditional Cuba Libre and with Seven-up (7-up) as a Santo Libre.

Ok, now as someone who drinks Brugal (and other rums), I was surprised to hear of the name Santo Libre. I was wondering where the name Santo Libre came from. No, I don't believe that the Santo Libre is named after the Mexican Luchador and movie star El Santo, though it would be an interesting origin for the drink. I've seen it written with both the "A" and the "O" at the end but to be honest the Santo Libre is what I've seen most commonly. So for the basis of this post I'll refer to it as a Santo Libre.

I would assume that its a variation of the rum and coke drink which is also known as a Cuba Libre. In the article Cuba Libre – Not just a Cocktail but a Story of Bacardi, Coca Cola and Cuba from the Creative Culinary website Rumor has it that it was first ordered by Captain Russell of the United States Army Signal Corps stationed in Cuba after the Spanish American War (the United States occupied Cuba until 1902) who toasted "Por Cuba Libre". That drink contained Bacardi and Coca Cola since Bacardi was the premier rum at the time.

So it would stand to reason that the Santo Libre would be a variation of that drink since the Capital of the Dominican Republic was and is Santo Domingo (officially Santo Domingo de Guzman). Here is a bit of Historical trivia for you gals and guys. From 1930-1961 the city was named Cuidad Trujillo after dictator El Generalissimo Rafael Leonidas Trujillo Molina. It was changed back to Santo Domingo after he was assassinated in 1961. Enough of that, back to the drink.

The version known as The Santo Libre contains two of the three ingredients of the Cuba Libre with the exception of the soda. The Coca Cola is substituted for Seven-Up in a Santo Libre. Another reason why I believe the "Santo" is a variation of the "Cuba" is that Coca Cola predates Seven-Up by 43 years. Coca Cola was invented in 1886 while Seven-Up was invented in 1929. Now this is not to say that there wasn't a lemon-lime soda before Seven-Up. To be honest I really don't know but I'm going on the dates for the specific brands. So forgive me if I'm wrong on this end. I sent a tweet to the official Brugal Rum USA twitter account for more information and clarification. I asked if they knew what the origin was for the name Santo Libre aside from it being a Dominican version of the Cuba Libre. They responded that all they knew about it was that it was a variation of the Cuba Libre. Well there you go.

Regardless of where the name came from, and who made it really doesn't matter. Its time to make the drink. The Brugal bottles can be recognized anywhere due to their distinctive yellow netting which envelops each and every bottle. Unless you're at a liquor store that carries an extensive rum selection or you're in a liquor store that is located in a Latino neighborhood, you might have some difficulty finding Brugal. Lucky for me, my dad goes back and forth to the Dominican and is nice enough to bring me back a bottle of Brugal Extra Viejo of which I have a couple sitting in the freezer nice and cold.

The drink is simple to make. Here's the recipe:
Santo Libre
2 oz. of Brugal Anejo or Extra Viejo
1/2 oz. of lime juice (optional)
7-Up

Pour lime juice into a highball glass over ice cubes. Add rum, fill with 7-Up, stir and serve. Garnish with lime.

See, I told you it was simple. But how does it taste?

It's very very refreshing drink, I love how the fresh lime plays off of the extra AƱejo rum and the 7-up. Since it has 7-up, it doesn't feel as heavy as it would if it contained Coca Cola. I can see myself having a few of these on a beach down in South Beach or the Caribbean...if I ever took a vacation. I guess having a few while watching Steven Seagal whip some butt as Niko in Above the Law will do for now.


Happy Drinking,
Sisco Vanilla