Thanks to its refreshing mix of sugar, lime, and mint, the simple mojito is a classic summer drink, perfect for sipping poolside or to take the heat from a hot city night. It may be a simple cocktail, but there’s a lot to know about this humble beverage.
The origins of this zesty refresher are widely debated. It is generally agreed that Havana, Cuba, is the birthplace of this cocktail, where it was drunk as a remedy for topical illnesses. Originally, it was made with aguardiente (a crude form of rum), lime, sugarcane juice, and mint.
Some say the drink was inspired by the arrival of Francis Drake, and that the drink was originally named Draque or Drak. Others say the drink was actually invented on board Drake’s ship to relieve the sailors of scurvy and fever.
Another theory is that the drink originated from the African slaves that worked the Cuban sugarcane fields in the 19th century. In the 1800s, Don Facundo Bacardi Masso established the Bacardi Company, and the aguardiente was swapped with rum, creating the drink we know and love today.
How to Make a Mojito
To make this refreshing summer cooler, you’ll need all the ingredients listed below, plus something to muddle with, like a bar spoon or rolling pin, a highball glass, crushed ice, and a measuring glass.
- 1 1/2 Ounces White Rum
- 1/2 Ounce Simple Syrup or Sugar
- 1 Lime Cut into 4 Wedges
- 6-8 Mint Leaves
- Club Soda
- Prepare Your Ingredients: Gather all your ingredients. This includes 6-8 fresh mint leaves, 1/2 lime cut into 4 wedges, 1/2 ounce of white sugar (or simple syrup), 1 cup of ice cubes, 1 1/2 fluid ounces of white rum, and 1/2 cup of club soda.
- Muddle the Mint and Lime: Place the mint leaves and 1 lime wedge into a sturdy glass. Use a muddler to crush the mint and lime, releasing the mint oils and lime juice.
- Add Sugar and More Lime: Add 2 more lime wedges and the sugar, then muddle again to combine. This process, called muddling, releases the essential oils in the mint and the juice from the lime for the maximum amount of flavor.
- Add the Rum: Fill the glass almost to the top with ice. Pour the rum over the ice, then fill the glass with carbonated water (club soda).
- Mix and Serve: Stir your mixture well and taste. Add more sugar if desired. Garnish with the remaining lime wedge and a few more mint leaves. Serve with a straw, so your guests can stir as needed.
The simplicity of the classic recipe makes it very versatile. So it’s easy to concoct delicious and easy variations.
- Strawberry Mojito: Muddle a few fresh strawberries along with the lime and mint. The strawberries add a sweet, fruity flavor that pairs well with the traditional mojito ingredients.
- Coconut Mojito: Substitute coconut rum for the white rum and add a splash of coconut cream for a tropical twist on the classic mojito.
- Spicy Mojito: Add a few slices of jalapeño to the muddling step for a mojito with a spicy kick.
- Passion Fruit Mojito: Use passion fruit rum instead of white rum and add fresh passion fruit pulp for an exotic variation.
- Cucumber Mojito: Muddle a few slices of fresh cucumber with the lime and mint. The cucumber adds a fresh, cool flavor that’s perfect for hot summer days.
- Ginger Mojito: Add a few slices of fresh ginger during the muddling step. Ginger adds a spicy, warming note to the drink, making this variation ideal for cooler weather.
- Pineapple Mojito: Add pineapple chunks during the muddling stage and use pineapple-infused rum for a tropical take on the classic recipe.
- Blueberry Mojito: Add fresh blueberries during muddling. The blueberries lend a subtle sweetness and a beautiful color to the drink.
Remember, the best part about making cocktails is the ability to experiment and create your own unique variations. So feel free to mix and match different ingredients to suit your personal taste!