Blogs & Inspiration
Master the Mojito
Learn expert tips on crafting the ultimate version of the beloved Mojito cocktail.
Author: Paulo Figueiredo, Bartender and Ketel One Global Ambassador
Estimated reading time: 4 minutes
The beauty about of this iconic cocktail is that you can go anywhere in the world, ask for a Mojito and you will get one. Every bartender has their own take on the Mojito but even popular.
The History of the Mojito
The exact origin of the Mojito is subject to debate but many agree that Cuba is the birthplace of this classic cocktail.
One story traces the Mojito to a similar 16th century drink known as "El Drake/Draque”, after Francis Drake. In 1586, Drake's ships sailed towards Havana and a drink was created for the men on board which mixed aguardiente de cana (a distilled alcoholic drink made from sugar cane, similar to the flavour of rum) with local tropical ingredients, lime, sugarcane juice and mint.
The combination of mint, sugar, lime and rum eventually caught on with Cuba’s rural farm workers and from the fields and swept through Havana’s bars where Americans visiting the island during prohibition first tried it.
HEADING TO THE USA
Recipes for the Mojito appeared in early American cocktail books like Charles H. Baker, Jr.’s The Gentleman’s Companion from 1939 and in the 1941 book - Here's How, Mixed Drinks. Despite the Mojito’s initial popularity, by the 1960s it had nearly disappeared in the U.S., although it remained commonplace in Cuba. However, as trends come and go, the Mojito slowly returned to Miami and the rest of the country in the 1990s, mainly due to the Nuevo Latino dining trend.
THE MOJITO BOOM
According to some, the Mojito ‘boom’ started when the drink made an appearance in the 2002 James Bond Film Die Another Day. In a scene set in a Havana beach bar, Halle Barry rises out of the water in her orange bathing suit and walks toward Pierce Brosnan who is sipping a Mojito. He hands her the glass and says, "Mojito? You should try it."
6 TIPS TO CREATE THE PERFECT MOJITO
The Mojito is still one of the most popular cocktails around and here are 6 tips for creating the perfect version:
Think about the sugar. Base the sugar on the type of rum you use. Different sugars help the rum to express itself in different ways. The easiest approach is brown sugar for aged rum and caster sugar for white rum.
Mint must be fresh. Also, the type of mint can vary greatly depending on where you are in the world. “Hierba Buena” (a term used in some Spanish-speaking regions to refer to mint) is the safest option for mint but if you feel adventurous then play with some other types.
Lime also has to be fresh. Make sure the lime isn’t too tart. I’ve found it difficult to work with some types of limes in Asia due to their level of acidity. The acidity level can make it difficult to balance the flavours.
Think about the rum you use. I prefer aged rum; nevertheless, I’ve tasted some great recipes with white rum. Normally, aged rums add some complexity to the cocktail but if you’re looking for a simple, refreshing Mojito then white rum is the better option.
You can use either soda or sparkling water. My preference is sparkling water as I find that the naturally occurring minerals in it give the cocktail a subtle flavour unlike the soda water.
Don't over complicate it.
- Most customers are happy when the Mojito is made without anything too complicated.
- Most people agree that Cuba is the birthplace of this classic cocktail.
- To make the perfect Mojito, choose sugar to match your rum (e.g. brown sugar with aged rum), use the freshest mint and lime, consider the ideal rum depending on your preference and use sparkling water or soda water.
- Many believe that the original recipe is linked to Sir Francis Drake.
- The Mojito “boom” is a result of its appearance in the Bond Film Die Another Day.
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