Picture this: it’s an unbelievably hot summer day. The water in the pool is inviting you to jump in. But you need more than just a splash in cold water to cool down. You need something to quench your thirst. You look around in the kitchen. You want something fresh, more than just juice or soda or lemon water. Then, an idea hits. Why not a cocktail? Sure, it’s midday, but it’s 5pm somewhere! And the perfect cocktail is just within reach. All you need is rum, lime juice, soda water, sugar, and some mints.
What is a mojito?
Known as one of the most classic cocktails in the books, mojitos are a refreshing concoction made with rum as the base liquor. As it is with most liquors and cocktails, it’s hard to pinpoint where or when the mojito came to be. However, many accounts lead us to believe that they originated in Havana, Cuba.
The history of the mojito
A commonly accepted story of the origins of the mojito involves one Sir Francis Drake. He was a sailor who was passing by Havana on a journey to loot gold in the 1500’s. On this trip, Drake and his men fell ill with dysentery and scurvy. They had no choice but to stop by Havana, turning to the Cuban natives for help to cure their disease.
The sailors received a motley combination of ingredients that were said to cure them: Cuban rum, sugar cane, lime juice, and mint leaves. They made a concoction out of these items, and soon the Cuban natives had their own name for the drink. Originally, the mojito was known as El Draque, after Sir Francis Drake.
It’s not all clear how the drink ended up being known as the mojito, how people stopped calling it the El Draque. However, it’s believed that the name change was thanks to the African people who were then slaves in Cuba. “Mojo” was a term that was going around among the slaves. It means something along the lines of “magic.” The name mojito probably evolved from there, as the drink did magically cure the sailors of their diseases.
For centuries, the mojito remained exclusive to Cuba. But it all changed during the American Prohibition, when the US government banned alcoholic drinks from the country. To get their booze fix, many would travel to Cuba, where they were then introduced to the mojito for the first time. These tourists returned to the States with a new recipe, and the cocktail took off in popularity, first in the United States, then around the globe.
What are the ingredients used in a mojito?
Mojito is the perfect summer drink, not only because of its refreshing taste, but also because it’s super easy to make.
To make your own mojito, you only need:
- White rum
- Fresh lime juice
- Soda water
- Mint leaves
The fun in the mojito starts even before you drink it. Making a mojito requires a cocktail-making tool called the muddler, used for crushing sugar granules, herbs, and leaves.
First, place your mint leaves in a glass with lime juice and sugar. Crush the ingredients together with a muddler. This will help release the oils from the mint leaves into the liquid, and also crush up the sugar granules so that they can dissolve easier.
Next, fill up the glass with ice and pour rum and soda water over it. Stir well and garnish with mint leaves and lime wedges, and you’re done!