The Old Cuban was first crafted at the famed Pegu Club in New York City by owner-bartender Audrey Saunders. Conceived of as an upscale variation on the Mojito, the Old Cuban (a mix of rum, bitters, simple syrup and lime juice topped with champagne) is a versatile drink—i.e., the rum and champagne combination works as well in the summer as it does on December 31.


  • 1.5 oz. 12-year-old Appleton Estate Jamaican rum
  • 1 oz. 1:1 simple syrup
  • ¾ oz. lime juice
  • 6 mint leaves
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 2 oz. chilled champagne or dry sparkling wine


Shake all ingredients—save for the champagne—with ice in a cocktail shaker. Double-strain into a chilled cocktail glass and top with two ounces of champagne. Garnish with a small mint sprig.

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Photo by David L. Reamer