The Original Mojito Recipe
Cool Mint - and a Cuban Aroma
The Mojito longdrink is the favourite of my friend Ricardo, and I fully understand why. This smooth and refreshing combination of rum and mint, lime and sugar, ice and sparkling soda water instantly takes us back to Cuba.
For Ricardo and me, the dry and spicy taste of Havana Club rum in an important factor. To us, this is the best Mojito recipe. A Bacardi Mojito is fine, and if Bacardi rum is all you have, use it! But a Bacardi Mojito lacks the yangof the original Cuban Havana Club Mojito.
Cuban Culture and Tradition
Cuba is a beautiful country, with pristine beaches, seas of azure, unspoiled nature, and lots of culture.
The Mojito is one of Cuba's cultural icons, together with the Cuban cigars and the rhythm of the Rumba, Guaguancó, Son, Bolero en Cha Cha Cha.
Although we've had the best Mojitos in Santiago de Cuba - especially the ones we got after Vicky's steaming salsa lessons - the "world headquarters" of the Mojito is La Bodeguita del Medio, a small bar in the old center of La Havana.
Barman in La Bodeguita del Medio, La Havana, making Mojitos for two thirsty clients: Ricardo and Juanita.
La Bodeguita was one of the favourite watering holes of Ernest Hemingway when he lived in Cuba in the fifties of the last century. There's even a sign in the bar testifying that this is the place where the thirsty writer drank his Mojito:
Here's the recipe:
For the original Cuban Mojito recipe you will need the following ingredients in a medium size cylindrical glass:
|2 fld. ounces
|Havana Club Rum
("Añejo Especial" or "Añejo Blanco");
|Lime *), cut into 4 wedges **);|
|fine Cane Sugar;|
|Ice Cubes ***);|
|Soda Water (or sparkling mineral water);|
*) For clarity, by "lime" we mean that round green type of lemon. (if you can't get limes, use lemons instead. The taste is not the same, but it's better than nothing!)
**) In some places in Cuba the barman will use lime juice, but we always preferred the fresh lime squeezed in the glass giving you the full aroma of the peel as well.
***) Some Cuban barmen will use coarsely crushed ice. Whole ice cubes will last longer in the glass, leaving a stronger cocktail mix until the very end.
Note: Quality and size of limes and mint may vary, so you may want to adjust quantities on the spot to suit your taste.
Note: In some places the bartender may add his own "special" ingredients like for example Angostura Bitter. The taste of such longdrink may be OK or not, but it is definitely not a Mojito anymore!
Mojitos are great to kick-start any party!
Making a real Cuban Mojito longdrink goes as follows:
- Pour rum into long drink glass ****);
- Wash lime, cut in half, cut one half into 4 wedges;
- Add 3 of the 4 lime wedges to rum in the glass;
- Strip mint leaves off 2 of the stems and add to rum in the glass;
- Add 1 or 2 teaspoons of fine sugar to rum in the glass;
- Squeeze lime and mint using small rolling pin, or alternatively stir vigoruously using spoon;
- Add ice cubes, fill with Soda Water;
- Use 4th lime wedge to decorate rim of glass.
- Use 3rd stem of mint to decorate the glass.
****) Some barmen in Cuba will start with the lime (juice) and water and keep the rum for last. We preferred it when they started with the rum and poured the soda water as late as possible, leaving maximum fizz in the glass.
A Note about Havana Club Rum:
I like Havana Club rum for its dry taste and unique spicy aroma.
For my American friends: don't worry too much about Havana Club, just use a dark Bacardi. While Havana Club is the prime Cuban rum, some of the other Cuban brands taste just like Bacardi.
Bar at the Havana Club Museum, La Havana, Cuba
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