Cuba Libre

Hmmm.  I'll have to try one of these some day.  Maybe some day soon. Like, tommorrowFrom Slate.

The rum and Coke is the West Indian equivalent of the gin and tonic—a highball symbolic of empire. Rum, a liquor essential to the geometry of the Atlantic slave trade, met Coke, the consummate quaff of American capitalism. (Think of Cocacolonization and Godard’s “Children of Marx and Coca-Cola.” Remember Andy Warhol’s silkscreens and his philosophy of soda-populism: “A Coke is a Coke and no amount of money can get you a better Coke than the one the bum on the corner is drinking.”)  Understand that the drink became broadly popular on these shores during World War II; with domestic distilleries aiding the war effort, rum consumption increased 400 percent, and with Coca-Cola exempt from sugar rationing, well, there you had it. 
Consider, also, the story of “Rum and Coca-Cola,” a Trinidadian calypso song written about U.S. soldiers “debauching local women” and, implicitly, also about the military-industrial complex they rode in on. Morey Amsterdam ripped off the original and reworked it for the Andrews Sisters, whose version became the second-biggest record of the 1940’s (after “White Christmas”). Now that’s what I call cultural appropriation. What’s the best way to wash the taste of it from one’s mouth? I have three ideas.


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