El Saoco Rum Cocktail from Cuba

Saoco Recipe: A Refreshing Taste of Old Cuba Campesino Life

There’s very little that’s actually simple about “the simple country life.” Most certainly that’s long been true for campesinos in Cuba. The veritable heart and soul of the Caribbean’s largest country, campesinos scratch out an arduous existence farming Cuba’s remote countryside. Their lives are far removed from Cuba’s cities, towns, and villages. Their work, in large part, is carried out as their forefathers practiced centuries ago. The drink that helps them through it all: el Saoco cocktail.

The Saoco tradition stems from poverty and the type of resourcefulness required to endure it. Originally, this light, refreshing thirst quencher was a mix of cheap and readily available ingredients. Just aguardiente, coconut water, lime, and sugar or honey. If there were any ice cubes around, even better.

A few saoco recipe tips

First, Havana Club 3 Rum shines in this mix like in most Cuban cocktails. So, if you can get it, use it.

Second, for best results, you’ll want to use a bois-le-le, the original swizzle stick from Martinique, of course. Absolutely nothing stirs better. (Order your bois-le-le here today!)


El Saoco Rum Cocktail from Cuba
Yield: 1 cocktail

Saoco Rum Cocktail Recipe

During the era of slavery, el Saoco was primarily used as a medicinal tonic. These days, it’s more of a potent salve for excessively warm weather. Another difference: light rum has largely replaced aguardiente as the most commonly used alcohol in this refreshing drink. Here’s how you make it.


  • 1.5 ounces Light Rum (Ideally, Havana Club 3)
  • 2.5 ounces Fresh Coconut Water
  • 2 teaspoons Fresh Lime Juice
  • 2 teaspoons Sugar


  1. Combine light rum, lime juice, and sugar in your glass.
  2. Next, stir it all up until the sugar dissolves. For best results, you’ll want to use a bois-le-le, the original swizzle stick from Martinique, of course. Absolutely nothing stirs better. (Order your bois-le-le here today!)
  3. For step three, I like to fill my glass with crushed ice. Regular ice is fine and more traditional, but I prefer crushed ice in my Saoco.
  4. Finally, pour your perfectly blended mix right in there with the crushed ice and top with fresh coconut water to taste/tolerance.

Last updated by Steve Bennett on .

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