COCKTAIL OF THE WEEK: MOJITO

Our featured cocktail of the week is the Mojito.

downloadThe Mojito is the drink bartenders love to hate.

It takes too much time to make, it’s a pain to clean up and it’s ordered in quantities far too large by drinkers far too unadventurous.

Yet the Mojito remains one of the most popular cocktails, and for a solid reason: It’s a very, very good drink. It deserves to be constructed with respect and care.

Unlike cocktails invented by auteur bartenders giving outlet to their creativity, the Mojito came about through a natural evolutionary process, progressing from knuckle-dragger to sophisticate over the course of more than a century.

A brief history of the Manhattan:

The Mojito took root in Cuba at a time when most rum was scarcely potable—fierce, funky and heavy with fusel oils and other noxiousness. How to fix this? Well, if you were a Cuban farmer with a bottle of cheap rum and a long night ahead, you would have used whatever diversions were at hand to make it more palatable—a squeeze of lime, some sugar-cane juice, a handful of mint. Then it would go down just fine.

Fast-forward to Prohibition and Havana’s rise as America’s favorite offshore cocktail lounge: The Mojito migrated from the farms to working-class beaches around the Cuban capital and then marched inland. Here it was dolled up a bit, with the addition of carbonated water, lots of ice and a tall glass. Foreign visitors marveled at this glorious offspring of the Mint Julep and the classic Daiquiri like it was the scion of a royal marriage.

This was also the drink of choice for Ernest Hemingway. Arguably the most famous of rum-based cocktails, stick with a Mojito when all else fails. If you have a great blended whiskey on hand, like Johnnie Walker Blue Label, even better.

Glass: Collins / Highball

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 oz. rum (Spiced or Light)
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 lime
  • 12 leaves or 3 sprigs of mint
  • Club Soda
Instructions: Combine the mint and sugar in a highball glass. Add the juice from the lime, and gently bruise with muddler. Add the rum and stir. Add ice almost to the top and top with soda water. Garnish with a lime.
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