The full origins of the mojito are lost to history; all we really know is that the drink originated in Cuba over 200 years ago, before being popularized by Ernest Hemingway and other celebrities who visited Cuba prior to the Revolution.
Or do we even know that much? Eric Felten cast convincing doubt on the Hemingway connection in a 2007 Wall Street Journal column.
What is true is that modern mojito, both as served in Havana and at your neighborhood brunch joint, is often sickly sweet, assuming it's even anywhere close to the original recipe, and not adulterated with spiced rum or boysenberry jam.
Want to make the real thing? Here's what you do:
Start with mint leaves in a serving glass—spearmint, if you can get it. Add a little sugar and gently muddle, just to slightly bruise the leaves and release their oils. Squeeze in fresh lime juice. Add a dash of Angostura if you please! It balances the sweetness and adds in subtle herbal notes. Finally, add a good white rum (I like Banks Five Island) and stir. Add in some ice and stir gently to chill and mix the drink. Made with a tasty rum and the freshest ingredients, this drink transcends the cliché it may have become.
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 10 leaves fresh mint
- 1 1/2 ounces white rum
- 3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
- Club soda
- 2 sprigs fresh mint, for garnish
- 1 lime twist, for garnish
Place sugar and mint leaves in a serving glass, and gently muddle just until the leaves release their oils.
Fill glass with ice. Add rum and lime juice. Stir to combine.
Top with club soda and add mint sprigs and lime twist for garnish.