No other cocktail has the capability to transport anyone to a tranquil, sun-drenched beach after just a single sip than a mojito. Bartenders around the world will have their own so-called “secret” mojito recipe that is nothing more than a simple tweak to the most fundamental of mojito ingredients. The recipe is quite easy to complete, yet many novices somehow end up with a slightly mediocre cocktail. Don’t fret as the next homemade mojito you’re going to make will not only blow your friends away, but will also give you the instant title of a mojito master.
One of the most essential tools of any bartender making a good Cuban highball is the muddler. It is a relative small piece of bartender’s tool that is used more like a pestle, except you don’t have the mortar to accompany it. It looks like a pestle with a very long and slender handle, typically about 7.5 inches long, although you might see an even longer one. It has a rather bulbous head on one end which is perfect for squishing the mojito ingredients.
If you don’t have a muddler, you can also use the rounded edge of the handle of a rolling pin. The idea in muddling is to squish the ingredients just enough to let them release their active ingredients. It’s like preparing your favorite Thai green papaya salad, mashing the papaya strips and other ingredients just enough to release the juices and have them blended together.
Only fresh mint will do justice to a great mojito. Whether it’s your classic Cuban highball or a more refreshing virgin mojito recipe, we cannot help but overemphasize the importance of choosing only the freshest mint you can get.
Now there are different varieties of mint, but when it comes to mojitos you’d definitely pick spearmint over other types. However, if you want a really stronger taste in your cocktail, peppermint can give that “kick”. If you want a more subtle flavor in every sip, then you’d go for apple mint or even orange mint.
But if you are really after the authentic Cuban cocktail, it is imperative that you source what bartenders call the “mojito mint”. If you cannot get your hands on “mojito mint”, then you’ve got to source Yerba Buena as these two have very strikingly similar flavors. Mojito mint is not as strong as spearmint while also giving you hints of orange and other citrus fruits.
You can pick a Tahitian or Persian lime which is very common in the US and is known for its culinary versatility. Key limes, also known as Mexican limes, have a more intense aroma than Persians and are usually more acidic, too. These are perfect for pickling, however. Kalamansi or Philippine lime has got to be one of the tartiest limes you will ever use.
Made from the byproducts of sugarcane that have been fermented and distilled, rum is a critical element to a good mojito. There are many brands of rum. Five of the most commonly used rums for mojitos include the following.
- Bacardi Silver – Provides lively citrus flavors that should work very well with the lime and mint in your mojito.
- Appleton White Jamaica – Slightly sweet, perfect for adding a different kind of sweetness to your cocktail.
- Havana Club Añejo Blanco – It’s got a hint of salt that goes well with the limes and mints of mojitos.
- Cruzan Aged Rum – For those who want a slightly different flavor in their rum, the Cruzan is a good choice. It’s got hints of coconut and vanilla and is aged in good old American oak barrels.
- Mount Gay Eclipse Silver – There are hints of banana that are enmeshed with citrus notes in this rum, to give you a more refreshing mouth-feel.
Making the Classic Mojito
The classic mojito only requires 5 ingredients: white rum, lime juice, mint, sugar, and soda water. Now, different mojito recipes technically call for the same ingredients, but in different amounts. Here’s one very simple mojito recipe that you can try first at home.
- 2 ounces of your favorite white rum
- 1 ounce of lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 8 pieces of fresh spearmint leaves (if you have the mojito mint or Yerba Buena, better)
- 2 teaspoons of sugar
- 1 ounce of club soda or soda water
- 1 cup of cracked ice
To make this recipe:
- Get a cocktail shaker and pour the fresh lime juice. Add the mint leaves and sugar.
- Get your bartender’s muddler and start bashing the mint leaves into the sugar and lime mixture. If you don’t have a muddler, the rounded edge of the handle of a rolling pin should work just fine.
- Add the rum and stir very well using a spoon with a long handle.
- Fill your favorite tall glass with the cracked ice. Pour the mojito mixture into the tall glass, but leave about an inch from the rim of the glass.
- Top it off with soda water.
- Finish with a small slice of lime and extra mint leaves as garnish.
We know some of you may be asking yourself how to make mojito without alcohol. While the classic mojito requires the use of white rum, you can get a little creative by eliminating the rum altogether and replacing it with non-alcoholic beverages. For most individuals, they prefer using a very simple solution of equal parts water and sugar that have been heated to just a few seconds of boiling then cooled. This is a mojito recipe simple syrup. Others would use Sprite or even 7-Up.
Let’s look at how you can create one.
- Pour half an ounce of simple syrup or Sprite into a cocktail shaker. Add 15 pieces of mint leaves, an ounce of freshly-squeezed lime juice, and a teaspoon of sugar.
- Muddle the mint leaves to release their oils into the concoction.
- Pour the concoction in a tall glass with ice.
- Finish with 4 ounces of soda water, sparkling water, or even chilled ginger ale.
Creating a fabulous mojito isn’t magic. Everything is in the ingredients and in the way you muddle the mint into the rest of the ingredients.