If you love Bloody Marys, you’ll love the Cubanita, which is a Bloody Mary with rum instead of vodka. This refreshing twist on the classic brunch cocktail is one you don’t want to miss.
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The Cubanita: A Bloody Mary with Rum recipe
When it comes to the vodka-based classic Bloody Mary, I always used to feel bad that the other spirits got left out of this classic brunch cocktail.
Then I got into cocktails and realized that there’s room for all the spirits in this savory cocktail space.
You can make Bloody Marys with gin, tequila, whiskey and even without alcohol! (See the section below called Variations if you don’t believe me.)
Well, the Cubanita is our Rum Bloody Mary and she’s here for her time in the sun.
Why you’ll love this recipe
There are a lot of reasons to try the Cubanita drink at your next brunch:
- If you are a rum fan, you’ll love seeing what this sweeter spirit can do in a savory cocktail.
- Bloody Mary fans will find rum adds some more sweetness than vodka, but in a good way!
- Fully customizable, the Bloody Mary has tons of variations and fun garnishes.
- It makes a fun party drink for brunches or game day.
Guests will love building their own with a Bloody Mary bar! I bet they will love the Cubanita and it will be someone’s new favorite cocktail.
What is a Bloody Mary?
A Bloody Mary is a classic cocktail that is the star of Sunday brunch, possibly ahead of her friend the Mimosa.
Nicknamed “the hangover cure,” this tomato-based cocktail is usually flavored with horseradish, garlic and hot sauce.
These savory cocktails pair well with savory breakfast foods like eggs benedict but also work with sweet dishes like French toast, waffles or pancakes.
It’s a very customizable cocktail, too. Vodka is classic, but you can mix up the spirits.
For example, when made with tequila, it’s a Bloody Maria. Rum works incredibly well too — its lightly sweet flavor pairs very well with the savory, peppery flavors.
Oh, and then there are the garnishes. The Bloody Mary is known for her crazy presentations, from celery to cheese cubes to cheeseburgers.
Here’s what you will need to make a rum Bloody Mary at home:
White rum, also known as silver rum, is probably most common for a Cubanita cocktail but other types can be used as well. Here’s a quick guide to rum:
- White/light/silver rum — Light and crisp and great for mixing into drinks. If you would prefer to taste more of the tomato juice and other ingredients than the alcohol, then this is a great option. Bacardi is easily the most popular brand of silver rum, but Mount Gay is another solid choice.
- Gold/oro/ambre rum — Medium-bodied and slightly stronger, aged in oak barrels, will give a deeper flavor to your cocktail. Gosling’s carries a very popular and versatile gold rum.
- Dark/black — Dark rum is richer with a strong, caramel-like flavor. This is a great choice for a stronger-tasting cocktail, but take note that it can alter the color of the Bloody Mary and make it look darker. Cruzan and Plantation are both popular brands.
- Spiced rum — Flavored with strong spices like cinnamon, vanilla and ginger, spiced rum is one you can find at the liquor store or you can make your own spiced rum at home. The spices add a ton of flavor, and this one works surprisingly well here.
- Flavored rum — Rum gets a new flavor with artificial flavorings like coconut or pineapple. Since they are often sweetened, I’d stick to something you’d normally eat with tomatoes… (But hey — pineapple on pizza is a thing so maybe it would be good! Let me know if you try it.)
Let me know if you try one of these combinations in the comments. I’d love to know how it goes!
Tomato juice is key to any Bloody Mary recipe! It is a tomato cocktail, after all, so don’t skimp here.
Organic tomato juice is best, but whatever you do, make sure to pick up plain tomato juice that is 100% pure juice with no added sugar. You don’t want your bloodies to be sweet!
If you like, you can use clamato juice instead. It’s a mixture of tomato juice, dried clam broth and spices, and would pair really well with tropical rum in this cocktail.
If you make Bloody Marys regularly, you may prefer to buy cans of tomato juice (rather than a big bottle) to keep on hand when the craving hits. The other condiments can be ready to go in the fridge.
As with any cocktail, fresh citrus juice is best.
Fresh lemon juice will provide a more natural flavor than bottled concentrate, which tends to be more sour and artificial-tasting. Plus, rum and citrus go so well together! (Hello, mojito!)
However, the bottled stuff has saved me on more than one occasion, so I always keep it in the fridge. No worries if you need to use it here!
Worcestershire sauce is a fermented, all-purpose sauce made from vinegar and flavored with anchovies, molasses, tamarind, onion, garlic and a host of other seasonings.
This must-have condiment is used in tons of dishes like hamburgers, salad dressings, cocktail sauce, so you’ll definitely use it again.
You can find it at any grocery store in the condiments aisle.
Hot sauce isn’t really all that hot hot, but it does add a peppery flavor. If you’re worried about heat, you can skip it or just use less.
However, you only need a few dashes of hot sauce, so keep in mind it will dilute and mainly provide peppery flavor.
A mild to medium spice level is a great starting spot. Tabasco sauce is a classic. For mine, I used my favorite Cholula Hot Sauce for this recipe. I also love this Garlic Habanero hot sauce, which is fairly spicy.
I usually do just a few dashes. Start with a few, and you can always add more until you find the right amount of heat for your tastebuds. It is much harder to undo!
You know that spicy stuff that’s sometimes spooned onto hot dogs and prime rib? That’s horseradish, a spicy, pungent condiment. It is made from a root vegetable of the same name in the mustard family.
Horseradish plays a key role in the Bloody Mary, giving it a spicy, umami kick.
This condiment comes grated and bottled but you can also make your own prepared horseradish with vinegar and fresh horseradish root.
Be careful not to buy “horseradish sauce.” You are looking for pure, ground, prepared horseradish.
Celery salt is salt that’s mixed with ground celery seeds. This flavorful salt is often used in soups and meat dishes, but it works well in Bloody Marys too.
Since celery sticks are a must-have garnish for Bloody Marys, this salt infuses more celery flavor into your homemade Bloody Marys.
Finely-ground sea salt is my choice for everyday cooking in my kitchen, but feel free to substitute kosher salt instead. Table salt is generally too salty for drinks.
Freshly-cracked black pepper will always add the most flavor, but you can use pre-ground pepper too. You don’t need a lot!
Bloody Mary salt
While totally optional, adding flavorful salt to the rim of the glass is a great way to impart some extra flavor in every sip.
You can make your own Bloody Mary Rim Salt with fine salt, paprika, garlic powder, onion powder and a little cayenne pepper, if you like it spicy.
You can also buy pre-mixed Bloody Mary salt to keep on hand if you prefer!
Cubanita cocktail garnishes
You can go classic of crazy when it comes to Bloody Mary garnishes. I compiled a list of over 100 Bloody Mary toppings, but here are a few that would be perfect for a gin Bloody Mary.
- celery stalk
- blue cheese-stuffed olives
- sprigs of fresh herbs like parsley, basil or dill
- popcorn shrimp
- lemon wedge
How to make a rum Bloody Mary
You can make one of these delicious drinks in just a few steps. Here’s what to do:
- Place Bloody Mary rim salt on a plate. Rub a lime wedge around the edge of a Collins or Highball glass. Roll the rim of the glasses in the salt to coat the rim. Add ice cubes to the glass.
- To a cocktail shaker filled with ice, add rum, tomato juice, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, horseradish, celery salt, sea salt and black pepper.
- Shake well and pour into the prepared glass. Embellish with your favorite garnishes.
Variations and substitutions
Use Clamato juice. If you like, you can use Clamato instead of tomato juice. (Sometimes this is called a Bloody Caesar.)
Use your favorite type of alcohol. If you’re not a fan of rum, check out one of the other types of Bloody Marys below.
More Bloody Mary Recipes
The classic Bloody Mary is usually shaken up with vodka. However, the recipe stands on its own and you can use another type of alcohol instead.
- To make a Bloody Maria, use either tequila or mezcal.
- For a Virgin Mary, I like to use zero-proof alcohol or a little bit of olive juice. It can also just be a glass of plain Bloody Mary mix.
- Whiskey is the star of the Bloody Derby, which has a sweet-and-salty taste thanks to the bourbon.
- There’s also the Red Snapper, which is a gin Bloody Mary.
- There’s also the Michelada, which is similar to a Bloody Mary and made with beer. However, it doesn’t usually contain the same ingredients as Bloody Mary mix. Instead it uses a simple mixture of tomato juice, lime juice, hot sauce and beer.
- 1 tablespoon Bloody Mary salt, for rim (optional)
- 2 ounces rum
- 4 ounces tomato juice
- 1/2 ounce lemon juice
- 1/2 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
- 2-4 dashes hot sauce, to taste
- 1/2 teaspoon horseradish
- 1/2 teaspoon celery salt
- 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- garnishes such as a lemon wedge, celery rib, olive, pickle, bacon and/or cocktail onion
- Rim a highball glass with Bloody Mary salt. Add ice to the glass.
- Add ice to a cocktail shaker, then top with rum, lemon juice, Worcestershire sauce, hot sauce, celery salt, sea salt, black pepper and horseradish. Cover and shake well until combined.
- Pour the Bloody Mary into the prepared glass. Add a celery rib and other garnishes, if desired.
Make it non-alcoholic. Use a non-alcoholic rum alternative, which tastes like rum but without the alcohol. Or skip the alcohol altogether to make a Virgin Mary cocktail.
Use Clamato juice. If you like, you can use Clamato instead of tomato juice.
Use your favorite type of alcohol. If you’re not a fan of rum, you can use vodka, tequila, bourbon or gin to make a Bloody Mary.
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Nutrition Information:Yield: 1 Serving Size: 1
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 159Total Fat: 1gSaturated Fat: 0gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 0gCholesterol: 0mgSodium: 2022mgCarbohydrates: 7gFiber: 1gSugar: 4gProtein: 1g