How to Make a Real Cuban Mojito
It's Friday, and that means you are due for a proper wind down. If we were in Cuba together, taking in the many tastes of this Caribbean nation, a likely course of action would be a Cuban mojito class. On any day during our Cuban tour, authentic mojitos are a wonderful response to the sultry temperatures of this time-worn land.
As the weather warms stateside, it's easier all the time to think of ways to celebrate Cuba in the kitchen. The mojito has several possible origins. Some say it can be attributed to Sir Francis Drake's crew attempting to mask the general crudeness of their fermented spirits with lime and sugar, which would have been acquired when stopping in Cuba on route to the Americas. Though this is a fun story, we wonder whether the early spaniards were creating anything even remotely close to the modern day mojito? For one thing they would have had this libation warm, because ice was no where in sight in the 1400s. Still, if we can trace this sweet and spicy drink that far back, let's do - or at least pretend.
What's certain is that Mr. Havana himself, Ernest Hemingway was perhaps the mojitos biggest fan. A 2016 story at Eater noted that Hemingway is famed for penning, "Mi mojito en La Bodeguita, mi daiquirí en El Floridita" (my mojito in La Bodeguita, my daiquiri in El Floridita), referring of course to his two favorite haunts in Havana. This is his cocktail above anyone's, and it is Cuban through and through.The secret to a proper mojito is to gently press the mint leaves (hopefully you've secured spearmint) against the sides of the glass, rather than smashing them with a muddler. American bars have gotten fast and furious with their muddling and they've taking the slow out of this slow cocktail, rushing to get it served and crushing the mint in the process. Don't do it! Instead, release the oils of the mint gently and you will have a much tastier finished product.Below we've included our mojito recipe straight from Cuba. Enjoy!
A Real Cuban Mojito
Yield: 1 serving
10 fresh mint leaves (preferably spearmint, but any fresh mint will work)
1 medium lime, cut in half, plus round lime slices to garnish
2 tablespoons fine white sugar (or sugar cane juice)
1 cup ice cubes
5 fluid ounces white rum
1/2 cup club soda
A cocktail muddlerA Collins glass, or equivalent tall and sturdy glass, or straight sided Mason jar
Place mint leaves into a sturdy glass. Using the wide end of a muddler, or a wooden spoon, rub the mint onto the glass sides to release the mint oils. Add the juice of one lime.
Add sugar and stir with mint and lime gently.
Remove the muddler and fill the glass almost to the top with ice.
Pour 1.5 ounce rum over the ice, and then top off the glass with carbonated water.
Garnish with lime slice and mint sprig if desired.
Learn more about Access Culinary Trips to Cuba, under the “Support for the Cuban People” license.