Our featured cocktail of the week is the Mojito.
The 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
- 1 1/2 oz. rum (Spiced or Light)
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1/2 lime
- 12 leaves or 3 sprigs of mint
- Club Soda