Wine Dharma

DharMag April 2015 Mojito cocktail recipe and ingredients: how to make the great Cuban drink

Mojito cocktail recipe with white rum, sugar & hierba buena, Cuban drink Mojito is an ancient cocktail for a very simple reason: it is made with the easiest ingredients to find in Cuba. So much that even in the days of pirate Francis Drake was in use some sort of alcoholic beverage made of brown sugar, lime juice, and rum.

This ancestor of the current Mojito was so pleasing for the pirate that in his honor was named Draque, as he was affectionately called by his friends.

This simple, yet immortal, cocktail has not only restored pirates and sea wolves but has managed to cross the centuries, seducing legendary characters such as Hemingway, who loved it madly. And also today Mojito has become one of the most popular cocktails. But why is Mojito so loved?

The reason is very simple: it is a very drinkable aperitif, with great balance, always poised between acid tension, sweetness, and the sharp flavor of Hierba Buena (mint), with the fruity and warm taste of rum acting as a glue.

How alcoholic is a Mojito?

The alcohol content of the Mojito is medium, but the alcoholic sensation on the palate is light, camouflaged by its amazing freshness and for this reason, it’s almost considered a girly drink. More precisely we could say that Mojito is an all-day cocktail, not surprisingly the Cubans drink it at any time of the day like a slightly “alcoholic lemonade”, thanks to its innate freshness. Just adjust the doses of rum.

But aside from history, do you want to learn how to prepare this great Cuban cocktail? We hope so because here is the original Mojito recipe from Cuba with love!

Ingredients for making the original Mojito drink

  • 4 cl of Cuban white rum
  • 3 cl of lime juice
  • 7 leaves of hierba Buena or mint
  • 2 tablespoons of refined white sugar
  • ice
  • soda

How to make the perfect Mojito cocktail

The Cuban Mojito, which is part of the great family of the Julep cocktails, assumes that you use real hierba Buena or spearmint (a kind of wild mint with a delicate flavor) and that you don’t muddle the leaves, but gently slap before putting in the glass.

In a highball put two teaspoons of white cane sugar and the juice of half lime. Stir well, add mint, pin down with the pestle, add some ice, rum and fill with a splash of soda.

Garnish with a sprig of mint and a slice of lime. If you want, but it’s not contemplated in the original recipe, garnish with some wild berries and strawberries.

For preparing a “Criollo Mojito”, which means local, add 2 drops of Angostura. A little bit of bitterness makes wonders!

Pro tips

How to make the perfect Mojito, Mojito recipe, ingredients, mixing tips You don’t need any special attention to prepare a good Mojito and not mohito as many mistakenly write. As first advice: just be delicate with the pestle and never wildly crush hierba Buena, still less mint, which could release bitter, unpleasant flavors. On the contrary Mojito was born as a refreshing cocktail and must have a good balance between sweetness, alcohol, and minty suggestions.

Second tip: do not pound the lime with the pestle, you are not preparing a caipirinha or caipirissima, where you have to extract the essential oils of the lime, but a simple Cuban Mojito, which is much simpler. You need plain lime juice.

What mint is used for mojitos

Cultivating your own hierba Buena is a must for any Mojito-lover and not just a Zen exercise to relax. With little effort, you will have an excellent stock of mint for all the year. It is not difficult, even a leprous green thumb should be able to keep alive a half dozen plants of mint. If you’re lazy just look from your grocery store. Finally note: Mojito is a refreshing but mostly seasonal cocktail, drink it during spring and summer, after your first crop of hierba Buena.

What is the best rum for the Mojito?

A light white Cuban rum is perfect, it should not be complex or expensive. The cocktail is all played on fragrances and lightness, so you don’t need full-bodied or alcoholic rum nor less spicy ones. Lime, mint, and sugar cane are a unique trio of flavors. Cuban, Haiti, Barbados, or Trinidad rums are perfect thanks to their fruity immediacy: avoid dark rums like Jamaicans or Demerara.

Mojito food pairings

Let’s choose fish, shellfish, and spicy foods or chicken kebabs: pair it with paella, spicy chicken wings, chicken curry, pasta with pesto or shrimps and zucchini risotto.

Photo credits