The Mojito is one of the most loved drink that 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 good drink.
Traditionally, a mojito is a cocktail that consists of five ingredients: white rum ,sugar (traditionally sugar cane juice), lime juice, sparkling water and mint. The original Cuban recipe uses spearmint or yerba buena, a mint variety very popular on the island. Combination of sweetness, refreshing citrus and mint flavors is intended to complement the potent kick of the rum, and have made this clear highball a popular summer drink. The cocktail has a relatively low alcohol content (about 10 percent alcohol by volume).
Cuba is the birthplace of the Mojito, although the exact origin of this classic cocktail is the subject of debate. One story traces the Mojito to a similar 19th century drink known as “El Draque”, after Francis Drake. In 1586, after his successful raid at Cartagena de Indias Drake’s ships sailed towards Havana but there was an epidemic of dysentery and scurvy on board. It was known that the local South American Indians had remedies for various tropical illnesses; so a small boarding party went ashore on Cuba and came back with ingredients for a medicine which was effective. The ingredients were aguardiente de caña (a crude form of rum, translates as fire water from sugar cane) added with local tropical ingredients; lime, sugarcane juice and mint. Drinking lime juice in itself would have been a great help in staving off scurvy and dysentery. Tafia Rum was used as soon as it became widely available to the British (ca. 1650). Mint, lime and sugar were also helpful in hiding the harsh taste of this spirit. While this drink was not called a Mojito at this time, it was still the original combination of these ingredients.
Some historians contend that African slaves who worked in the Cuban sugar cane fields during the 19th century were instrumental in the cocktail’s origin. Guarapo, the sugar cane juice often used in Mojitos, was a popular drink amongst the slaves who helped coin the name of the sweet nectar. The drink is also spelled Mohito and Moxito in certain cultural areas of Cuba.
There are several theories behind the origin of the name Mojito;
One such theory holds that name relates to Mojo, a Cuban seasoning made from lime and used to flavour dishes.
Another theory is that the name Mojito is simply a derivative of Mojadito (Spanish for “a little wet”) or simply the diminutive of Mojado (“wet”). Due to the vast influence of immigration from the Canary Islands, the term probably came from the mojo creole marinades adapted in Cuba using citrus vs traditional Isleno types.
Many hotels in Havana also add Angostura bitters to cut the sweetness of the Mojito; while sugar is often muddled with the mint leaves rather than cane sugar, and many establishments simply use Simple Gomb syrup ( white sugar syrup) to control sweetness. Many bars today in Havana use lemon juice rather than fresh lime. Fruit flavoured vodkas or rums, such as mango, strawberry, lychee or mandarin, are often substituted.
Mexican Mojito: uses the Mexican native tequila instead of rum as a primary alcohol, and simple syrup instead of sugar for a sweetener. To simplify production, some restaurants will add mint leaves and peppermint extract to premade margaritas for Mexican Mojitos.
Dirty Mojito: uses spiced rum, brown sugar syrup, lime wedges, mint and soda.
Virgin Mojito or Nojito: Mojito without alcohol. Only used, lime wedges, sugar syrup, mint and soda
Apple Mojito: uses apple-flavoured liqueur as well as rum.]
English Mojito: uses gin in place of rum and sprite as a substitute for sugar/soda.
Greek Mojito: uses Metaxa Greek spirit or Mastika instead of rum
Mojito Royal: is a mojito with Champagne instead of club soda.
Morelli Mojito: refers to a mojito made with Red Bull instead of soda water and Raspberry vodka.
Lychee mojito: is a mojito made with lychee syrup or liqueur and very popular in Hong Kong.
Article by: Susy*