Oh, summer…tans fade away but memories stay forever! The colder it gets outside, the more we miss the summer. Luckily, there’s a way to bring some sunshine & sandy beaches to your living room. Invite your friends over and start shaking up some mojitos!
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Even though many would say Margaritas are the ultimate summer drink (we’ll get to them soon enough), this traditional Cuban cocktail has taken primate in the last several years, becoming one of the most ordered refreshments all around the globe!
Quick History of the Mojito
Part of this drink’s popularity is due to its simplicity and wide availability of ingredients – lime, sugar, mint, and rum. The fact that it was the favorite booze of one of the world’s most famous writers, Hemingway, also contributes some charm.
So, how did this amazing highball come into our lives? Far back in the 1830’s, the Cuban writer Ramon de Palma mentioned a drink very similar to mojito in one of his books. The cocktail was initially called ‘El Draquecito’ and was associated with Sir Francis Drake.
Namely, there’s a story that traces a similar drink in the 16th century when Drake’s ships sailed towards Havana but there was an epidemic of dysentery and scurvy on board. The local Indians prepared a remedy with rum, lime, sugarcane juice, and mint to help the sick soldiers, thus creating the original mojito predecessor. Throughout the years, it was adjusted and became the highball we adore today.
How to Make a Perfect Classic Mojito
Even though there are so many versions of this popular cocktail out there, it’s hard to beat the classic recipe. The problem with homemade mojitos is that they always turn out to be so different from those mixed up in a bar.
The key is the balance of ingredients. In other words, it’s not just about what ingredients you’re using, but how you combine and mix them. The classic recipe calls for rum, lime, sugar, mint, and ice, (optionally soda water is added), and served in a highball glass.
Traditionally, white rum is used to make mojitos. Look for lighter Cuban-style or Spanish-style rum.
Lime can be added in the form of wedges or juice. In case you go with lime wedges, make sure to muddle well. However, too much muddling will cause the lime to release a bitter flavor. So, if you are uncertain about how much muddling is enough, opt for freshly squeezed juice and use the wedges strictly as decoration.
Can you use crystalline sugar in your favorite highball? Some dislike the crunchiness it contributes, so professional bartenders often opt for sugar syrup instead. The next question is – what type of sugar syrup is the best? Since white rum is pretty light, so should be the sugar syrup so as not to overpower the other ingredients and give the cocktail brown color. Opt for white or golden sugar syrup. To make the syrup, combine equal parts sugar and water and heat at a low temperature until dissolved.
Mint is here to contribute its amazing aroma. So, the point is to release the aromatic oils from the mint. Don’t slice or break the mint into small pieces. Like in the case of sugar syrup, if you muddle too much, the mint will end up ground and look more like a sauce. In addition, it will release bitter flavors and ruin your cocktail instead of flavoring it. To achieve best results, all you need to do is press the mint gently with your hands. Don’t forget to use another pressed mint spring as decoration next to the straw
Adding soda water doesn’t actually make a big difference. Still, it does add an extra subtle layer of flavor to the cocktail. If you decide to use it, make sure your soda water is without artificial additives and sugars and keep the amount low (just a splash will suffice).
Crushed ice is cherry on top when it comes to mojitos. Take the ice out of the freezer and crush it just before adding it to the glass. Just make sure the ice hasn’t absorbed any unwanted smells from the food in the freezer.
Constructing the Classic Mojito
Ingredients and amounts:
12 fresh mint leaves, divided (plus for garnish)
1 cup crushed ice
4 teaspoons sugar syrup
1/4 cup fresh lime juice (approx. 2 limes)
1/4 cup white rum
1/4 cup soda water
For a perfect mojito, the ingredient ratio should be 1 part lime:1 part sugar syrup:2 parts rum.
Press the mint and add to the bottom of the glass. Add the crushed ice, followed by the lime juice, rum, and sugar syrup. Churn with a spoon. Add some more crushed ice and continue churning until frosting appears on the outside of the glass. Then fill with even more crushed ice until the glass is completely full. At this point, you can add some soda if you want. Decorate with mint and, optionally, a lime wedge.
Five Unexpected Mojito Twists
Why not try something different from time to time? See what happens when you replace lime with lemon or mint with basil, or when you add totally unexpected ingredients like orange, pineapple, strawberry, or cherry.
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More Amazing Mojito Recipes
Have you ever eaten mojito cupcakes, salad or even popsicles? Well, it’s high time that you did!
I’m in love with food and everything about food! Blogging is my way of celebrating that love and MyGreatRecipes made it all happen. If you, too, are into great food and interesting reads, you will enjoy reading my posts!