Cuban Sidecar and Cuban Special

Although I could have made a separate post for each of these cocktails, I decided to group them into one – the Cuban Special is actually a variation on the Cuban Sidecar, so it seems to make sense to me to draw parallels between the two.

The fundamental difference between the two drinks is the base flavour of either sweet or sour. Generally speaking, if you prefer one over the other you’ll probably prefer the corresponding drink as a rule of thumb.

Cuban Sidecar

If you’re a self-confessed ‘sour’ person I would recommend trying the original version, the Cuban Sidecar, first. Although it has a curious lack of scent, it is actually quite a strong drink; it’s comprised primarily of just alcohol with a little bit of lime juice – just to give it that sour edge, of course. It does, however, have a very strong aftertaste. Not necessarily a bad one, but it is so, so, so sour it’s hard to think of many other ways to describe the taste. Personally, out of the two variations of the drinks I would go with the Cuban Special, but that’s because I always choose sweet over sour, if given the option. I also think the Cuban Special has a more rounded flavour profile, whereas the Cuban Sidecar could be seen as being one note.

3/5

The Recipe:

♦  1 ounce white rum

♦  1 ounce triple sec

♦  1 ounce lime juice

Shake all the ingredients together and strain into a chilled martini glass.


Cuban Special

Now, the Cuban Special is just a touch more, well, special than the Cuban Sidecar in my humble opinion. My husband would vehemently disagree with me, but there you go. The age old dilemma, sweet vs. sour and I guess I know which side I land on. I know, I know, one of my favourite drinks – the Ballet Russe – is incredibly sour and I adore it for that, but I have an incredible sweet tooth, so when push comes to shove I guess I come down on the side of sugar. C’est la vie.

Now, looking at the ingredients list, the only difference between the two Cuban cocktails is an extra half ounce of pineapple juice in the Special, but it does dramatically change it from the Sidecar. The pineapple removes the citric edge from the lime juice and adds a fruity note to the drink. It starts as a creaminess that makes each sip feel richer in the mouth, and then evolves into a lime tartness, but on a tempered level when compared to the Cuban Sidecar.

Whichever version you choose, rest assured you’ll be in good, strong hands for your evening drinks. Just don’t have too many.

 4/5

The Recipe:

♦  1 ounce white rum

♦  1 ounce triple sec

♦  1 ounce lime juice

♦  ½ ounce pineapple juice

Shake all the ingredients together and strain into a chilled martini glass.

Thoughts, feedback or have your own recipe? Let us know here!