The Mojito is one drink that conjures up images of laying on a beach, drink in hand, and not a care in the world. This rum based cocktail is the official alcoholic beverage of Cuba, and is one of the most popular drinks in bars all over the world. Like any truly great drink, it has a whole history of conjecture and lore centered around its origin. After all, who wouldn’t want to take credit for creating a drink as amazing as the Mojito? So grab your bar tools and your rum and let’s get to making some Mojitos!
- 10–12 fresh mint leaves
- 3 lime wedges
- 1 oz simple syrup
- 2 oz white rum
- Crushed ice
- 4–6 oz club soda
- Mint sprig
In a tall glass, muddle the mint leaves and one lime wedge. Add the other two lime wedges and simple syrup, and muddle all the ingredients. Add crushed ice (not ice cubes!). Pour in the silver rum. Top with club soda, and garnish with a nice mint sprig. Serve and enjoy. Repeat as necessary.
You can substitute two tablespoons of sugar for the simple syrup or use mint infused mojito simple syrup for extra flavor.
To make a Dirty Mojito, substitute spiced rum for white rum and brown sugar for simple syrup.
The Mojito recipe is one that takes a little time to implement properly. Be sure to tip your bartender generously if you’re ordering this out at the bar. The prep itself takes about to set up, and the whole drink assembly time for the Mojito is about . The Mojito has been consistently one of the more popular drinks worldwide for good reason. The combination of mint, lime, rum, and soda water is just naturally refreshing and relaxing. The Mojito is a fine example of craft cocktails at their finest when done properly and with care. If you’re serving guests at home, show off your bartending skills and take your time.
The History of the Mojito
Like so many other popular drinks I’ve researched lately, the origin of the Mojito seems to be mired in controversy. Many people say that Cuban slaves invented it in the late 1800s, but it seems that there was a proto-Mojito in existence as far back as the 1500s. English pirate Sir Richard Drake, whose boss at the time was Sir Francis Drake, invented a Mojito-like drink shortly after Drake unsuccessfully tried to invade Havana in search of gold to plunder. According to legend, Sir Richard Drake used the limes that the pirates kept on board to ward off scurvy, along with mint, sugar, and a harsh precursor of rum called aguardiente. Aguardiente (also called tafia by slaves from West Africa) was an early alcohol made from cane sugar, just like rum. Drake called his drink “El Draque” (literally, “the dragon”) after his boss, Sir Francis Drake. These two brought the drink to other areas in the Caribbean and South America, and eventually back to Europe. When rum became steadily available around 1650, it replaced the unrefined aguardiente in what would eventually become the Mojito. The drink was widely used for medicinal purposes, as Cuban lawyer and poet Ramón de Palma was quoted in the 1880s.
The other popular story says that Cuban slaves from the sugar cane fields concocted the Mojito in the late 1800s. This Mojito was made from guarapo, which is sugar cane juice, and still extremely popular in many countries around the world today. Explorer Miguel Boneras mentioned the Mojito as early as 1910, although it would be years before the cocktail appeared in a bartender’s guide. Havana restaurateur Angel Martinez would go on make the Mojito famous at his bar, Bodeguita del Medio, when many celebrities, such as Ernest Hemingway, would go out of their way to sample the authentic Cuban Mojitos. The first Mojito cocktail recipes in print are from 1931 and 1936 drink manuals from a Cuban bar named Sloppy Joe’s, another favorite hangout of Hemingway’s.