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Apr 7, 2014

Cuba Libre Taste Test

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This week I asked our Twitter and Facebook friends where we could get Mexican Coca-Cola in Toronto. Trevor needed it for one of our summer projects and since we don't normally use commercial soda we were a little surprised to find out we had stumbled on to some controversy.

I did a little research and apparently, Mexican Coke used to be made with cane sugar instead of the sugar/glucose-fructose which is in the American and Canadian versions. It's also sold in very pretty glass bottles.

We called Coca-Cola Canada to find a source for the Mexican version, the polite and helpful service employee had no knowledge of any Mexican Coke in Canada at all or what ingredients might be in it.

Um, OK.

We were really just trying to make some cocktails, we're not investigatory journalists. Although, Trevor does regularly accuse me of having lunch with Jesse Ventura and Oliver Stone...

I read several news stories about a formula change in November of 2013. The Hecho En Mexico version to be sold domestically would be switched to HFCS. The American exports made in Mexico would retain the sugar.

I'm not sure if the product that we purchased in Canada was the Mexican version intended for Americans or Mexicans. There is no way of knowing how it might have ended up on store shelves in Toronto. It was made in Mexico but the nutritional information, including the list of ingredients was on a separate sticker that listed sugar second. The Canadian version lists sugar/glucose-fructose as the second ingredient. The rest of the Mexican bottle is designed with (enamel?) paint and lists no ingredients.

We decided that we needed to have a taste test. I expected big things. We tried the Mexican version and Canadian version in both cans and plastic bottles. We had them on their own and tried each in a Cuba Libre... I was all but certain that this was going to be the best rum and coke I'd ever had!

We couldn't taste anything different, I was so disappointed. I didn't even notice a difference in mouth feel or aftertaste. Nothing. Maybe we just don't drink enough Cola to really discern, but I could not taste it. It's not exactly the same thing but, it took years before I could taste difference between a rum produced in Guyana from one made in Puerto Rico. Perhaps I just need more practice.

Either way, it would be tough to know which version you're getting even in a bottle from Mexico and for the tiny amount I would ever drink, it's not worth it. Tell us what you think, is it worth the extra price, hassle and practice required?

Trev made these for a seminar in Mexico

Cuba Libre

4 oz Coca-Cola
1 1/2 oz white rum
1/4 oz fresh lime juice

In a high ball filled with cracked ice, add rum and lime juice, top with cola

*These are just observations. I don't work for Coca Cola. I don't claim to have any knowledge about their company or products.*

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