Hello fellow reader and drinker. Have you had a shitty day? Same. I am assuming you have set out for a mojito recipe because the monotony of everyday life has you wanting to rip your hair out…but instead you are choosing a wiser path, a more mature path: taking the edge off with some rum and pretending you’re on a tropical beach somewhere. I’m proud of you.

However, the Mojito is not just a beach drink; it has a rich history and has countless variations. Such variations and tradition actually led to the Mojito being named the most popular cocktail in the UK and France in 2016, according to that year’s International Cocktail Report. Tasty, refreshing, and popular! Can’t say I’m any of those things!

You might say the Mojito is a close cousin to its Cuban rum and lime relative, the Daiquiri. It shares not only similar ingredients (adding mint and ultimately soda), but also has a past that is murky and pretty rough. The rumor has always been that the mojito was the favorite drink of Ernest Hemingway, who would drink it at one of his favorite bars in Havana—La Bodeguita del Medio. Yes, he drank them here, however, Hemingway never explicitly said it was his favorite. This rumor seems to have emerged as a mix of fake news and marketing scheme-age. But the year is 2021; we are used to that sort of thing!

Anyways, some claim Sir Francis Drake, the English Naval commander, dirty slave trader, and explorer of the 1500s is its official mixer. Commanded by Britain’s royals, Drake plunders the Spanish territories of the Caribbean, but meets with an unfortunate obstacle: dysentery! Scouring for a cure, Drake’s associates are consoled by the Islands’ medicinal aguardiente, a concoction of a distilled sugar tincture (a foretaste to rum), mint and lime. This concoction somehow allegedly worked for many, thus the drink was dubbed “Draque” (the dragon) after Drake himself.. While the curative Draque may have saved some, Sir Francis experiences no such luck and perishes dysentery style. Not surprising! I am shocked that a concoction including acidic limes and alcohol fixed anyone’s bowels! I also think this was slave trader karma.

Eventually, aguardiente replaces the sugary distillate with the refined flavor of rum and we have the makings of the Mojito.

But how did we get from Draque to Mojito? The plot thickens. Drake and his men are only a part of the Mojito’s legacy. African slaves from the fields of Cuba use the aguardiente medicine and name it “mojito” as mojo means to “cast a spell,” so they are responsible for its enduring name.

Here’s the thing about a Mojito; it’s a whipped drink. You make it in a shaker with light ice then serve it over crushed ice. Remember, ice is your friend, eventually. Don’t over dilute drinks that are poured over crushed ice, and if you see someone pour you a Mojito from a pre-mixed bottle, you tell them KB Barman says to ask for something else. Lots of bartenders hate this drink. Let’s face it, it takes some labor and some time. But don’t hate the drink or the people who drink it. Hate the game. And just follow the simple directions. Check out my video for presentation details. Use crushed ice, either hand crushed or out of a machine. You can, as with the Daiquiri, muddle in fruit and add it with the mint. Just remember, Mojitos don’t have to take a long time and be difficult. They can be quick and easy (and dirty and nasty). Bottoms up—life’s a beach.

Here’s how I make mine.

Mojito for the bar: quick and easy, dirty and nasty

  1. 2 oz white rum
  2. 1 oz lime juice
  3. 3/4 oz 1/1 simple syrup
  4. 5-6 mint leaves, no stems
  5. splash of soda

 

  • Add all ingredients to a shaker
  • Shake vigorously
  • Lightly muddle mint leave in glass
  • Strain liquid over crushed ice in glass
  • Top with a splash of soda
  • Garnish with a mint sprig