The history of this unofficial national drink of Cuba starts in the late 16th century. It was then that the famous corsair, Francis Drake, unofficially serving Queen Elisabeth I. who at the time supported other corsairs attacking Spanish ships as well, prepared a drink for his company that reminds us of today’s Mojito. Rum or aguardiente (the non-refined ancestor of rum) was very popular with sailors and pirates long before that but it was Drake who transported mint on his ships and who added it to the alcohol together with lime. It was sheerly for protection. He believed the lime and mint would protect his men from fever and other diseases. This so-called “Draque” was first created by the corsair Richard Drake, Francis Drake’s subordinate. The drink was served on a wooden spoon with a cock-tail-like handle. Drake’s corsairs were based on Cuba, that’s why the drink first became popular there. Later on, it spread into other Latin-American countries.
The word mojito might come from the spicy sauce called mojo (from Spanish mojar, “moisten”). The name of this drink is often pronounced [moxito] based on the usual pronunciation of the Spanish letter j. According to the original Cuban pronunciation, the pronunciation mohito is more appropriate. The very first method of Mojito was recorded in “Cuban Cookery” by Blanche de Baralt, 1931.
If one wants to taste the “real” mojito, a good white Cuban rum should be used for it. I have tried various rums (Bacardi Carta Blanca, Havana Anejo 3 Anos, Ron Tabu Blanco, …) but what I liked the most was the combination with Doorly’s 3 Y.O. White. Maybe it’s because everyone is used to the taste of Havana or Bacardi. That’s what you get in most bars. However, this is something completely different and I really like the addition of the great rum from Barbados.
You may find different ingredient ratios. Some like it sweeter, some add more mint or make it stronger. This is the best scenario for me:
- 4 cl Doorly’s 3 Y.O. White
- 15 cl sparkling water
- 2 teaspoons of dark sugar
- approx. 10 mint leaves
- 1 pc lime
- crushed ice
We mix this drink in Highball Glasses (taller, tube-like glass, approx. 250 ml, heavier bottom), it may or may not have a stem. Add 1/2 lime, quartered, sugar, rum, and mint and crush it with a muddler (Mojito pestle). Crush the ice in a processor and put it in the glass, alternating ice and the other 1/2 of the lime, cut into pieces. Stir with a long spoon and add sparkling water. Decorate with a lime slice and a mint sprig.
This cocktail is ideal for those who do not prefer the sweet taste. It is refreshing, combining nicely the sour lime and the mild sweetness of dark sugar. This topped with great rum and fresh mint aroma. I prefer crushed ice to ice-cubes in this drink. It’s easier to work with, it lasts and cools the drink quickly. Have you tried any other rum?