Looking for a new cocktail to try out this weekend? Want to wind down with a fresh new drink? We’ve got you covered. Here’s what you should drink this weekend.
The history of the mojito is muddy at best. Its origins are inextricably linked to the island of Cuba but different accounts credit different creators. Sir Francis Drake is considered to have created it as a medicinal beverage using aguardiente de caña, a harsher precursor to rum. Others contest that African slaves working in Cuban sugarcane fields crafted it. In fact the word “mojito” has no clear origination although it could refer to the Spanish word mojado, which means wet. There are also stories circulating that suggest that Ernest Hemingway had a hand in popularizing the beverage as the mojito was purported to be a favorite of the author.
The first examples of the mojito cocktail recorded in recipe books are as early as the late 1920s. There are actually examples of the cocktail being made with gin but as Bacardi gained popularity, it adopted the mojito as a pure rum drink.
When making and enjoying mojitos, the quality of your ingredients dictates the quality of your cocktail. The best rum won’t hide the flavors of poor-quality mint and lime juice. So to get the best out of your mojito buy some high-quality mint and juice your own limes. And get experimental with your herbs and fruit, try some seasonal citrus or berries to add an extra flavor dimension to your cocktail on a hot summer day.
Rum – Most mojito recipes call for a white rum to keep this cocktail crystal clear but you can certainly substitute with your favorite dark rum. Overall though, you want the fresh mint and lime juice to really carry this drink so try to avoid rums with extreme flavor profiles. Bacardi Superior and The Real McCoy 3-Year are both solid options. Batiste Rhum and Caña Brava are two slightly pricier but exceptional choices.
Limes – Like we mentioned earlier you’ll want to get high-quality limes and freshly juice them yourself. If you want a stronger citrus kick you can even freshly muddle the lime in the glass, leaving the rinds along with the muddled mint.
Mint – Fresh, top-tier mint is key for this cocktail. Try to avoid dried out or pre-packaged mint. Most supermarkets will have mint available but your local farmer’s market could be a good call, too. In our recipe, we just use the mint in the cocktail glass but some folks make their simple syrup with mint for an extra minty kick.
Simple Syrup – Again, make your own simple syrup. There’s no need to get pre-packaged simple syrup when a simple blend of equal parts water and white sugar. A rich simple syrup (2 parts sugar to water) will add extra depth to this drink but a rich demerara syrup (demerara sugar instead of white sugar) results in a delightfully complex cocktail. Alternatively, if you choose to muddle the lime directly in your drink rather than using lime juice, you can add a tablespoon of demerara sugar crystals to be muddled. Unlike the syrup, this will mean that the mojito changes over time as the crystals slowly dissolve.
Mojito Cocktail Recipe
- Add up to 10 mint leaves into a chilled highball glass and very gently muddle/stir with a bar spoon and top with large ice cubes.
- Combine 2 ounces of rum, 1/2 ounce of simple syrup, and 3/4 ounce of lime juice in a cocktail shaker with ice.
- Shake until chilled and incorporated, about 10 – 15 seconds.
- Pour into highball glass and top with sparkling water.
- Stir gently, garnish with a couple sprigs of mint and a lime wedge, and enjoy!