The mojito, a blend of rum, lime, mint, sugar syrup and soda water is a very refreshing, light and zesty cocktail that is perfect for drinking at this time of the year. In this week’s blog we look at the history of the cocktail from Francis Drake to Ernest Hemingway.
Francis Drake was sponsored by Queen Elizabeth 1st to plunder and seize the riches of spanish cities in the New World. In 1586 he dropped anchor off the Cuban shore with the plan to capture the island's gold but instead he left with something else. According to Diageo Bar Academy “In desperate search of a cure, a landing party went ashore at Cuba and returned with a local blend of aguardiente de caña (a precursor to rum) mixed with lime, sugarcane juice and mint. Sure enough, the concoction staved off illness and was christened “El Draque” in Drake’s honour.”
This drink remained unchanged until the mid 1800, Whet Stone Magazine suggests “ The concoction was originally drunk among farmers from the plantations to deal with their illnesses, mainly produced by the hard labor they endured.” The drink was then adapted when the spirit aguardiente de caña was replaced with rum and the name was changed to the Mojito.
The drink saw its rise in popularity due to Prohibition in the US, Liquor.com says “Havana’s rise as America’s favorite offshore cocktail lounge: The Mojito migrated from the farms to working-class beaches around the Cuban capital and then marched inland. Here it was dolled up a bit, with the addition of carbonated water, lots of ice and a tall glass.” The author Ernest Hemingway was a big fan, boosting its popularity even more!
The mojito is also known as the cocktail bartenders love to hate, although delicious it is slightly labour intensive to make. If you want to go down the premixed route then Shake ‘N’ Serve Mojito is a fantastic example but if you want to create your own we have a few options. The traditional option to go for would be a white rum such as the fantastic Toti. But if you want to create something a bit different to impress why not go for a flavoured rum by Deadman’s Fingers. By just replacing the white rum with a raspberry rum you have a raspberry mojito! I am also a fan of adding a dash of Angostura Bitters to give the drink more complexity.
Muddle the lime wedges in a highball glass, but not the mint as it creates small pieces of mint in the final drink. Add the rum,syrup, slapped mint leaves (this releases the aromas and flavours) and crushed ice. Churn with a spoon, pour over the soda and stir again to combine. Enjoy!