The Mojito

July 17, 2009

The mojito, over the last few years, has erupted into the cocktail world as if there was no tomorrow. Rising rapidly to its current status as the most popular, and frequently ordered, drink across the world. Even spawing an alcopop in its namesake, upsetting.

You would struggle to find a bartender out there these days who doesn’t know how to make a, at least acceptable, mojito. However the history and tales behind its origins vary dependent on where you look, and few seem to have much of a clear view on where this drink came from.

One of the most popularised beliefs is that, whilst the drink only officially emerged in the late 1930’s, the drink has its origins in a concoction crafted by Sir Richard Drake. A famous British pirate in the 1500’s, he was supposed to have used mint, lime, and sugar frequently to mask the aguardiente’s (an unrefined predecessor to the modern day rum) sheer rawness. The drink was named El Draque after him, and after starting his base of operations in Cuba, logic follows that this started the beginnings of the drink. With high quality rums beginning to arrive upon the scene, the unrefined aguardiente was switched out in favour of the less harsh newer rums.

The El Draque is found mentioned in Cuban literature as far back as 1838, described as a daily medicinal aid for bodily wellbeing.

The basic build for a mojito is pretty much indisputable, rum, mint, lime, and sugar, however every bartender has their own small variations.

The below is my preferred build:

50ml Golden Rum
6-8 Lime Slices
8 Mint Leaves
2 Teaspoons sugar
10ml Ginger Beer

Add the lime to the base of a tall glass, then add the sugar and muddle down to create a paste. Add the mint, after briefly slapping it, to the glass and gently bruise it with a muddler. Then add the rum and fill the glass with crushed ice. Churn the mixture to spread ingredients evenly, and also to dilute. Then add the ginger beer and churn once more. Create a snow cone of ice on top and garnish with a lime slice and a mint sprig.


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