August 2007 back to Pub Reviews
Mojitos (pronounced mo-HEE-toe) is from the African word mojo, and means to place a little spell. According to havanajournal.com, Bacardi traces the drink’s roots to 1586, when Francis Drake attacked Havana for its gold. While the invasion was unsuccessful, Drake’s associate, Richard Drake, was said to have invented a mojito-like cocktail known as El Draque made with aguardiente (a crude forerunner of rum), sugar, lime and mint. It was initially consumed for medicinal purposes. Around the mid-1800s, the recipe was altered to include rum. In 1940, Cuban playwright and poet Federico Villoch proclaimed: “When aquardiente was replaced with rum, the Draque was to be called a Mojito.”
claim the Mojito
was developed in Cuba in the late 1800’s as a thirst quencher enjoyed by sugar
cane harvesters (http://www.perfectmojito.com/history.html).
It is believed the rum available was harsh, so they started adding a little
water and sugar cane juice to sweeten and soften it up. This mixture gradually
evolved to a mix of lime juice, mint, and soda water.
The mojito is an excellent way to test a bar's (or bartender’s) ability to mix premium cocktails. Since it is time consuming to prepare (compared to other cocktails), it is often thrown together, with little care or attention to detail. If slapped together, the mint can be minimally “muddled” (see below), the leaves limp and still with their stems on.
When preparing a mojito, it is not necessary to use a premium or dark rum. The delicate flavours would be lost in the sugary mixture. Since it is meant as a refreshing drink, a light rum is used to prevent the drink becoming too sweet. At the same time, it can't be such “gutter rum” that it detracts from the smoothness of the final product.
With summer upon us, what perfect time to try your own mojitos and your own mixologist skills!! The following recipes were all taken from the internet from various sources, links provided.
The Original Recipe - from La Bodeguita del Medio in Havana, Cuba. http://www.tasteofcuba.com/mojito.html
1 sprig of mint
There are countless recipes for the Mojito (prounced moh-HEE-toh), but this version is for the one Hemingway himself enjoyed at the Mojito's place of birth: La Bodeguita del Medio in Havana, Cuba.
Place the mint leaves into a long mojito glass (often called a "collins" glass) and squeeze the juice from a cut lime over it. You need about two ounces of lime juice, so it may not require all of the juice from a single lime. Add the powdered sugar, then gently smash the mint into the lime juice and sugar with a muddler (a long wooden device - you can also use the back of a fork or spoon). Add ice (preferably crushed) then add the rum and stir, and top off with the club soda. Garnish with a mint sprig.
The Classic Recipe: (http://havanajournal.com/culture/entry/cuban-mojito-history-and-recipe/)
12 fresh spearmint leaves
2 tablespoons simple syrup (see note)
1 1/2 ounces light rum
1/2 lime, sliced
Splash of club soda
Lime wedge and mint sprigs for garnish
In a highball glass, gently crush the mint leaves and the sliced lime with a muddler or the back of a spoon. Add syrup, and fill glass with ice. Add rum and top with club soda. Stir to mix. Garnish with lime wedge and a few sprigs of mint. Makes 1 servings.
Note: Make simple syrup by heating 1 part sugar with 1 part water until dissolved; cool before using. You may substitute 4 teaspoons superfine sugar.
And an alternative for the vodka drinker….. I came across a couple of vodka mojitos recipes. Though not classic mojitos, they will no doubt satisfy the vodka lovers!!
Vodka Mojito (closest to the classic mojito)
1.5 oz Vodka
Mojito Mint Julep (from the Van Gogh web site)
Although I am not a big “flavoured vodka” fan, I thought I would include this. It is a new product from Van Gough – as far as I know, it isn’t available in BC yet. Only the espresso and pomegranate flavoured Van Gogh vodkas are here. But one day, it may show up!
Splash Simple Syrup
2 oz Whiskey
3/4 oz Van Gogh Mojito Mint Vodka
Fill an 8 ounce highball glass about one-third full with ice cubes. Pour ingredients over the ice and stir thoroughly. Fill glass with Sprite or ginger ale.