The Original Cuban Mojito is a highball staple that’ll never go out of style. This perfectly-sweetened “authentic” Cuban Mojito recipe is fresh, minty, and delicious. It’s an absolute must-try! You’ll need white rum, club soda, a lime, fresh mint, and superfine cane sugar to prepare this classic cocktail. Enjoy!
History of the Original Cuban Mojito
It’s always cool to learn the history behind a great cocktail; so I’ve done some research for you! But if you’d rather get straight to the making and the drinking I understand, just keep on scrolling. Don’t worry, it won’t hurt my feelings!
As legend goes, the birth of the Cuban Mojito came in the 16th century when the plundering Englishman, Sir Frances Drake, ventured ashore in Cuba looking for a scurvy remedy for him and his crew. They came upon a local mixture of crude rum born from sugar cane, lime juices, and mint. Thanks to the lime, the remedy worked. This encounter ignited the infamy of a drink known as “El Draque,” named after Drake himself.
It’s purported that African Slaves in Cuba were instrumental in the formation of the drink’s final design. They cultivated a necessary early ingredient, a sugar cane juice called “guarapo,” the juice almost certainly contributed to the cocktail’s development.
The name we use today likely originates from one or several Spanish language derivatives. I prefer to believe it comes from the African word “mojo,” meaning “to cast a little spell.” Nevertheless, the infamous author Ernest Hemingway was certainly smitten and brought lasting fame to the Mojito, claiming it to be one of his favorite cocktails.
The Cuban Mojito is the older cousin of the Mint Julep. The latter being a bourbon take on a similar recipe. Yet Havana’s rendition of a minty classic relies on muddling to fashion its form, not unlike the Original Bourbon Old Fashioned. The mint, lime, and sugar is muddled and topped with a sweet white rum. As the oils from the mint leaves escape, it produces a distinctly pleasant aroma making the Mojito’s preparation almost as rewarding as its indulgence.
What is a Cuban Mojito?
A Mojito is a traditional Cuban highball cocktail made with white rum, club soda, fresh lime juice, mint sprigs, and superfine sugar. The cocktail’s traditionally muddled at the base of the highball glass it’s served in, but it can also be prepared in a cocktail shaker with simple syrup instead of superfine sugar. The cocktail’s an amazingly popular summer drink given its refreshingly minty taste! The Cuban Mojito’s a true classic that should be a staple recipe at any home bar.
Cuban Mojito Ingredients
If you want an authentic Cuban Mojito you’ll want to use white rum aka light/blanco rum. True Cuban rum is almost impossible to come by in the U.S. because of import restrictions, but any Caribbean white rum will do the trick. The advantage of white rum is that it’s sweeter than aged rum; it blends very well with the lime, sugar, and overall maintains the cocktail’s fresh/clean look.
Don’t hesitate to try new brands! Bacardi Superior’s old reliable when it comes to quality unaged rum, but check out other great varieties that’re worth a try when you can. Here’s a few brands I recommend in a Cuban Mojito:
- Bacardi Superior White Rum
- Havana Club Blanco Rum
- Plantation 3 Stars
- Cruzan Estate Diamond Light Rum
- Ron Matusalem Platino
Club Soda! It’s what gives the Cuban Mojito that refreshing seltzer-like feel. Although I’m sure you’re aware, club soda is pretty much the exact same thing as sparkling (seltzer) water. So don’t get caught up on the name when you’re shopping for ingredients, the difference isn’t worth the sweat. However, tonic water is different. Tonic water has added sugar in addition to carbonation. Nevertheless, add the club soda last, then give the cocktail a few final stirs before serving. It’s the perfect way to finish everything off.
Always try to use fresh citrus juice when you’re making a cocktail. It really does make a difference! Bottled juice oxidizes on the shelf and over time can diminish in quality and overall taste quite a bit. The original recipe introduces the lime juice into the Cuban Mojito as the lime wedges are muddled with the mint and sugar. If you don’t have a muddler that’s alright, simply squeeze the juice (1 fl oz per serving) into a cocktail shaker with the mint leaves and ice (the ice impacting against the mint while shaking will have a similar effect as muddling). After shaking, strain the mixture into the glass, be sure to remove the mint from the shaker and add it to the glass as well before discarding the ice.
If you’re using a shaker it’ll be easier to use simple syrup as your sweetener instead of superfine sugar, since granulated sugar doesn’t dissolve well in cold temperatures.
Yes, mint! It’s what makes the Cuban Mojito taste so fresh. Grab some mint sprigs from the produce section of a local grocery story. Better yet, buy a mint plant and leave it in your kitchen window so you’ll always have fresh mint available. Make sure to use peppermint in your mojitos; spearmint is much stronger than peppermint, which is good in chewing gum. But not so much in a cocktail. In addition, peppermint has more of a citrusy taste than spearmint which compliments the lime and it has larger leaves that are easier to muddle.
Adding room temperature (unchilled) rum when muddling makes it a lot easier and faster to dissolve the sugar with the lime/mint juices (before adding any ice or club soda). It keeps the end product well-rounded and fluid instead of a simple mixture of white rum and club soda weighed down with sugar at the base. This might not seem like a big deal, but it evens out the flavor of the cocktail and helps make the last sip just as tasty as the first!
Agitating the mint leaves used to garnish the Cuban Mojito appears rudimentary. However, breaking the skin of the leaves unleashes an aroma that welcomes its drinker in a unique way. It’s a great way to embellish the experience! So at that, cheers and enjoy!
How to Make the Original Cuban Mojito
Learn how to make a perfect Original Cuban Mojito! This perfectly-sweetened “authentic” mojito recipe is fresh, minty, and delicious. You’ll only need white rum, club soda, a lime, fresh mint, and superfine cane sugar.
- Slice a lime into 8 thin wedges.
- In the bottom of a highball glass, add 6 lime wedges (3/4 – 1 fl oz lime juice), 5 mint leaves, then pour superfine cane sugar on top.
- Gently muddle ingredients until the mint leaves are fragrant and the lime juice has been pressed from the wedges; ensure you don’t crush the leaves too much or they’ll break into tiny little pieces that don’t taste very good!
- Add room temperature white rum, and stir really well for 45-60 seconds (you’re dissolving the sugar in the rum, lime juice, and mint).
- Fill the glass with fresh ice.
- Pour club soda atop then stir again for 20-30 seconds.
- Gently agitate 2-3 mint leaves (strike to your palm or counter); add a mint sprig and lime wedges for garnish.
*Nutrition information is approximate and varies depending upon ingredients used.
- Category: Cocktail
- Serving Size: 1-3
- Calories: 170
Keywords: Cuban Mojito, Rum, Lime, Mint
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