Say Goodbye to Watered Down Cocktails with One Simple TrickJump to the Recipe
There is nothing I love more on a hot day than a cool mojito.
But sometimes I just crave the original, where the fresh lime flavor shines through.
The Cuban classic has an interesting history, the exact details of which remain unknown. It was likely started with the Latin American drink El Draque, which is common throughout the region today. Mint and lime helped to make low quality spirits palatable.
The drink caught on among Cuba’s field workers, making its way into the bars where the addition of ice and club soda proved attractive to American tourists.
The mojito was a favorite of Ernest Hemingway, who helped popularize the drink in the United States. Its fervor died down in America in the 1960s, but was resuscitated in 2002 when Halle Berry and Pierce Brosnan shared the cocktail in Die Another Day.
Today it has risen to fame, a warm-weather staple ubiquitous in bars and households alike.
Ice, Ice Baby
In order to avoid the tragedy of melting ice watering down my drink, I start with a tray of mint and lime ice cubes. You’ll need to prepare a few hours ahead to make this, though!
First, place a mint leaf in each pocket of an ice tray.
Here’s a hint: Rub each leaf between your fingers lightly to release some of the oils first. Be gentle, though – torn leaves don’t give the finished cubes as much visual appeal.
Mix together 2 ounces of lime juice and 8 ounces of cold water. Pour the citrus water over the leaves, and place the tray in the freezer until it’s frozen all the way through.
Once the cubes are ready, it’s time to make your drink.
This recipe is for a full pitcher, because the drink just screams, “Enjoy me with friends!” But if you prefer to make a solo cocktail, just divide the ingredients by 4 and mix straight into your cup.
I don’t bother with making a syrup for my recipe, as I like to avoid firing up my stove in the heat if I can help it. Instead I use a dark, crunchy demerara (or raw) sugar, which adds a touch of texture and extra flavor to the drink!
Cooking by the Numbers…
Step One – Muddle
Muddling is a vital step in making a mojito. This is what releases the oils from the leaves, giving the drink its cool refreshing taste.
Start with just the mint leaves and sugar. The rough raw sugar granules will make the process quick.
Add in the lime juice, and muddle it just a touch more. The acid will help to break those leaves down a bit more, releasing that last punch of flavor through a process known as maceration.
A hint for juicing limes: Roll the fruit between your palms before slicing to release the juices inside. Start by slicing off the ends, then slice in half. This will make it easy to squeeze out all of the juice.
Step Two – Stir
Add in the rum, club soda, and lime-mint ice cubes. Stir these together and you’re done! It is unbelievably simple.
Top with a few more sprigs of mint and a couple rounds of lime for a kick of color, and you’re ready to serve!
Love the Taste of Sweet Tea? Looking for a Little Mocktail Fun? We’ve Got You Covered
If you’re looking for an extra little twist, substituting 12 ounces of iced black tea, Southern-style sweet tea, or your favorite fruit or flavored tea for the 8 ounces of club soda makes for an excellent moTEAto.
Do the kids want in on the fun, too, or maybe a friend is serving as DD for the night? Leave out the rum and up the club soda for a tasty mocktail that will leave them feeling like they’re part of the crowd.
If you want a similar virgin drink with an Indian flair, give nimbu pani a try: a cooling, thirst-quenching mojito relative.
Pull out those ice trays, call up a few friends, and get started on preparing this pitcher of happiness right away. You deserve to treat yourself to a cocktail party on the patio.
Be sure to let us know in the comments how you like to mix up your mojito! And be sure to check out our round-up of some of our favorite mojito recipes from around the web here.
Photos by Kendall Vanderslice, © Ask the Experts, LLC. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. See our TOS for more details.
About Kendall Vanderslice
Kendall’s love of food has taken her around the world. From baking muffins on a ship in West Africa and milking cows with Tanzanian Maasai, to hunting down the finest apfelstrudel in Austria, she continually seeks to understand the global impact of food. Kendall holds a BA in Anthropology from Wheaton College and an MLA in Gastronomy from Boston University, and has worked in the pastry departments of many of Boston’s top kitchens. Based in Somerville, Massachusetts, Kendall helps to run a small community supported bread bakery and writes about the intersection of food, faith, and culture on her personal blog, A Vanderslice of the Sweet Life.