Yesterday was National Mojito Day, and in honor of the classic cocktail, which is an ideal summer sipper, we’re sharing the 411 on making the most magnificent mojito around. The mojito is one of the world’s most popular rum drinks, and its birthplace is Havana, Cuba. In the late 1500s and early 1600s, rum was a pretty crude spirit, so the Cubans took to masking the strong taste with local produce: limes, mint, and sugarcane. Later the drink became popular among Americans visiting Cuba, for its similarities to the mint julep and the daiquiri.
The libation consists of a handful of components (rum, mint, limes, simple syrup, and fizzy water), so start with the best-quality ingredients you can afford. Traditionally a white rum is used (we like Flor de Caña and Cruzan), but if you want to add more depth of flavor, you can use a dark rum like Brugal or Matusalem. Fresh-squeezed lime juice is crucial—don’t even think about making a mojito with bottled lime juice! Homemade simple syrup, a mixture of equal parts sugar and water, is also preferred over any store-bought variety.
Here’s our go-to recipe. If you want to add other flavors, do so with fresh fruit. A couple of pitted cherries or blackberries are delightful additions.
The Perfect Mojito
NOTE: Serves 1
8-10 mint leaves
1 oz. simple syrup
1 oz. fresh-squeezed lime juice
2 oz. rum
1/2 oz. chilled club soda
Lime wedge and mint sprig, optional, for garnish
Place the mint leaves and simple syrup in a cocktail shaker. Muddle well to release the essential oils of the mint. Add the lime juice, rum, and ice, filling the shaker 2/3 full with ice. Shake well and strain into an ice-filled collins glass. Top with the soda water and garnish with lime round and mint sprig, if desired. Enjoy immediately.
When making a mojito, a sturdy wooden muddler is as necessary as the rum.
Do you like mojitos?