Cocktails O’ Clock: The Mighty Cuban Mojito

This is the classic, a model of your own flavours…

Mojito: How do you like yours?

The mojito is that classic Cuban cocktail combining rum, sugar, mint, lime and soda water. It’s a classic in the same way a Manhattan or Martini is a classic; they’re literally amazing cocktails.

Now obviously the way a bar differs their Mojito’s from the next bars’ is to add their own unique flavours. From Bananas to pumpkin, a mojito can be flavoured with fruit or vegetables but always needs to be balanced.

The recipe I’m sharing with you all today is the recipe that started it all; the recipe Hemmingway himself tasted on that fateful day…

The Hemmingway Mojito

2 measures Havana Club white rum

1 teaspoon of caster sugar

2 measures fresh Lime Juice

4 mint leaves

1 sprig of mint

2 measures Club Soda

Method:

1)      Put the mint, lime juice and sugar into your serving glass (a thick bottomed glass should be used here)

2)      Mash together the mixture until the sugar is dissolved.

3)      Fill the glass ¾ full with crushed ice.

4)      Add the rum and stir well. (cover the glass with your hand and using a bar spoon,  stir and pull the spoon up and down, mixing the ingredients together).

5)      Top up with ice again, and then top off with the club soda.

6)      Garnish with a mint sprig and lime wedge, and serve with straws.

This cocktail is the classic version, but since then improvements have been made. Like using lime wedges instead of just lime juice, adding a bit more body to the drink as well as releasing their oils when muddled. I’m also a strong believer in the mint leaves being gently muddled but kept whole, not shredded. When you shred/break up the mint leaves they become bitter and can ruin your Mojito (especially when using other flavours like strawberries).

The best way to muddle your mint, sugar & lime mixture is to put the mint in, then the limes, but place the lime skin side up, and then the sugar. Then muddle gently and try not to split the leaves (it’s not the end of the world if you do split the leaves, but for a better tasting drink try to keep them intact).

Flavouring a Mojito is not always an easy task, but sometimes it can be as simple as adding an ingredient to the classic recipe. Granted some of the more complex flavours do need balancing, and some even require the removal of the mint (I’m against this as a Mojito without mint is not a Mojito).

So how do you flavour a Mojito?

One of my favourite recipes was one I created for a Mexican themed party for a friend:

Lemon Twist Mojito

60ml Rum

6-8 Mint Leaves

2 Lime quarters (in chunks)

1 teaspoon Agave Nectar

2 lemon quarters (in chunks)

1 tablespoon (15ml) Lemon Vodka

Top up Lemonade

Lemons & Limes make the world go round... they make this drink taste pretty good to...
Lemons & Limes make the world go round… they make this drink taste pretty good to…

Method:

1)      As per normal, muddle the mint, agave nectar, lemon and lime chunks in the bottom of your serving glass.

2)      Half fill with crushed ice and add the vodka, stir as the above recipe.

3)      Then fill the glass a little more with ice and add the rum, stirring again.

4)      Finish the glass filling with ice, and heap above the glasses rim.

5)      Top with the Lemonade and garnish with a mint sprig and lemon & lime twists.

This is a kind of sweet-soda version of the classic, sticking to the same recipe, but adding a small amount of lemon flavouring (fortified with the use of the sweeter lemonade instead of the drier club soda).

Other recipes include these Mojito flavours in my previously published post.

My favourite though is still the strawberry mojito. Something unbeatable about using the best British strawberries with the beautiful Havana Club 3yo rum that, to me, makes Mojito’s a genuine classic cocktail.

Interesting Fact: Contrary to popular belief this cocktail is not related to a Caipirinha as the latter doesn’t use mint in its classic recipe.

This coming week I have a rather special post planned, touching on a cocktail I have posted about before, only with a slightly 21st century twist. I’ll be leaving hints in the posts over the next couple of days, with the hope of getting the post up by around Wednesday… Keep a weather eye open!

And remember to drink responsibly, otherwise you will miss out on great cocktail posts like this one!

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