Who doesn't know the mojito? This refreshing cocktail is actually quite simple, but never goes out of fashion and is loved by a large and mixed audience. But how did the mojito get its name and which secret tricks give an even better result? Time to take a closer look at the mojito.
History: from farmer's drink to cocktail in secret bar
You say mojito, you say Cuba. The mojito was used as a medicine in 1650. The rum used to be called "burning water made of sugar cane" and that worked antibacterial. The lime protected against scurvy because of the high content of vitamin C. At the time, the rum was not of such quality because that was not the focus. Mint and sugar were added to mask that taste. And that's how the base of the mojito was created.
Did you know that the mojito wasn't as premium in the past as it is now? It was a "farmer's drink" that was drunk by the poor! In the nineteenth century there were many American slaves in Cuba, for whom this drink was intended at the time. Ice cream wasn't available at the time.
Several theories about the pedigree of the name "mojito" are circulating. One theory is that the word comes from "mojo", which is a Cuban lime based seasoning. Others say that it is based on "moja dito", which means "a little wet". But the mojito first appeared in a secret Cuban bar under a different name, the bar of Juan A. Laza. Then the cocktail was called "libero de cocktail". And 10 years later under another name, "sloppy joes mojito".
The classic recipe & variations
And then we arrive at the cocktail as we know it now. But there are many different varieties of mojito and there are several ways to make the cocktail. It depends on what matters most to you. If you want a simple and clean version, you can shake the ingredients (except the mint). If you have a prominent bar, you can build the mojito in the glass.
With the basic mojito you start by muddling 6 lime slices in a glass with 20ml sugar syrup, 5ml lime juice and a little bit of sugar. Crush 10 mint leaves to release the aromas of the mint. There is no need to hit hard; research shows that this is superfluous and the leaves look better when they are even bigger. Add crushed ice to half the glass, with 40ml of white rum. This rum has a classic taste, unlike the dark rum that we will add later. By stirring well now, you let the flavours mix with each other. Then add crushed ice just below the edge of the glass and top with soda water and very dark rum. Use real soda water and no sparkling water, because this has a different minerality. The dark rum makes the cocktail a little sweeter and brings the flavours in balance. We recommend the Gosling Black Seal. Make the "finishing touch" with a lime slice, mint leaf or top and a straw (e.g. spaghetti, bamboo, iron or biodegradable paper).
Some nice variations on the mojto:
- Mexico: with 100% agave tequila instead of rum. The tequila goes well with the lime. Works much better than gin, because tequila has a fuller taste. It's a long drink, so that makes it a herbal-like cocktail
- PeruGrapefruit or passion fruit instead of lime. Makes it slightly sweeter and more bitter instead of acidic, but is still acidic enough and well balanced.
- The Cocktail Agency twist: For Momo in Amsterdam we made a flavoured mojito with spicy mango syrup instead of sugar syrup, ginger beer instead of soda water and brown rum instead of white rum. This makes the cocktail a little fresher and gives a special twist to the classic.
- Alcohol-free: ginger beer instead of rum or just soda water or with London Essence ginger bear. So you still have one strong taste and serve a refreshing cocktail.
- Other ice cream: simpler and tighter variant where you do not use crushed ice but 1 large block of ice, a bar block. You serve the cocktail in a long drink and use fresh lime juice and no wedges.
Tips for Mojito
Finally, we have some tips for you to make the most delicious mojito.
- Always use fresh lime juice. After 12 hours the fresh lime juice is removed and you can taste it. It'll be a lot less tasty and that's a waste of your cocktail.
- If you use lime wedges, stamp the muddle with cane sugar syrup and half a teaspoon of cane sugar in a long drink glass. You make the cane sugar syrup by adding 2 parts cane sugar to 1 part mineral water.
- Do you pick all the leaves of the mint beforehand? Then store them without water in a tupperware. Don't put a lid on it, because then the leaves will immediately get cool air if you keep them in the fridge.
- Don't you pick the mint leaves in advance? Then wrap them in a damp piece of kitchen paper and store them in the refrigerator in a tupperware with a lid. That's when they stay fresher.
- You can also keep a van of mint outside the refrigerator. Then put them in a glass like a bunch of flowers. It is important that they are not completely submerged. This is often done, but with it you lose taste. Then put a biodegradable bag over it.