Mojito Cocktail

By Robert Hess

The Mojito seems to be "the" drink these days, but this drink dates from before the 1930's, where it was a popular drink in cuba to refresh and relax with. In the late 1940's the drink burst onto the international scene when it was "discovered" by Enest Hemmingway at "La Bodeguita del Medio". Properly made, a mojito should always be made with fresh mint and fresh lime juice, but due to its ubiquitous popularity, you will often find bars using various unfortunate shortcuts to make them quicker, but sacrifice the quality in doing so.

Recipe

The Mojito

10-12 leaves mint

2 tsp granulated sugar

splash soda water

11/2 oz white rum

3/4 oz fresh lime juice

Instructions

Muddle mint, sugar and soda.

Add rum and lime juice.

Fill half way with ice and stir.

Top with ice and soda water.

Garnish with lime wedge.

Comments
Kevin Verspoor 5 Sep 2007
8:12 am

I know there are many ways to make mojitos, however my Cuban - American cowerkers ( one of who’s uncle owns a bar in Havana) told me that the Mojito is made as a short drink in an old fashoned glass with unbleached sugar and half a lime cut up and about 6 mint leaves this is muddled to express the lime and mint oils then 2 oz of gold rum is added it is stirred then ice is added and strired again then a small splash of club soda is added on top then an extra mint sprig.  I work with four Cuban - Americans and they say that all of thier families make Mojitos this way.

Robert Hess 5 Sep 2007
8:38 am

Kevin, not terribly different from how I made it here… except I used a larger glass, refined sugar, didn’t muddle the lime, and used white rum… hmmm… ok, maybe it is somewhat different :->

At the core of understanding the differences and simularities between variations of a cocktail, is to understand what aspects are at the “soul” of the drink, which aspects simply “enhance” the drink, and which “degrade” it. I’d view all of the differences you listed as ways to enhance the drink with a little extra character.

The core of the Mojito is “soda, rum, lime, sugar, mint, served on ice”. To a certain extent you could simply list the recipe like that, and leave it up to a knowledgeable bartender to figure it out. As long as the end result was a pleasing balance of those flavors, I’d argue that it would technically be a Mojito. Using raw sugar, muddling the lime to get some of the oils from the skin, using a gold rum to add a little more flavor… would all be little enhancements that could be used to add a little extra character to this drink. Perhaps using strongly flavored dark rum instead of white or gold might be going a little too far, and turning this into something that would no longer be recognizeable as a Mojito.

-Robert

Kevin Verspoor 5 Sep 2007
9:07 am

Hey Robert,

I totaly agree about the basic backbones about the drink.

It is funny though how my Cuban - American friends refuse to accept the tall Mojito as the “real deal”  We have had some fun and heated discussions about it (  - :

Like any great drink it brings about many conversations about how it is done.

respectfully
Kev

Walt 6 Sep 2007
9:48 am

The Mojito is a good drink. Audrey Saunders’ Old Cuban is even better, in my humble opinion. And whether a Mojito, a Sazerac, or an Old Fashioned, any muddled drink is time consuming to make and make well and not too welcome by bartenders on a real busy night.

Matt 9 Sep 2007
11:23 am

Another great video…how about an episode on the Mint Julep/juleps?

Owen 11 Sep 2007
7:36 pm

I was intrigued by the mojito about 5 years ago (this was before it had it’s recent resurgence) and decided I would learn how to make it (I’m not a bartender).

My recipe has evolved over the years, and now its to the point where my friends will demand I bring my “mojito kit” and make them at parties (  I made 40 the other night, and boy did my arm hurt :)  it’s worth it to see the expression of enjoyment on people’s faces ).

I’m always refining, but currently I do a few things differently than you and was wondering what your thoughts were.

I grow my own spearamint (not peppermint which is commonly found in the store and I believe was what you were using) because I find the flavor more pleasing.

I actually use a splenda simple syrup (trying to cut out a few calories and I feel like it makes the drink even more refreshing and “lighter”).

I imagine I overmuddle (I will try muddling less vigorously next time), which is why, I suspect, I have started straining it recently.

I use a 2:2:1:1 ratio, Rum, Seltzer, Simple Syrup, Lime (although I don’t normally measure, just use the juice of half a lime-which can lead to variability (I know I should measure)).  Although the seltzer isn’t added until the end since my order is very simliar to yours.

People seem to prefer mine over any bar-made one’s they have had-of course, they might not be going to the right bars.


Also, where do you get your bar tools?  That muddler and that jigger are both really slick.

Al Nelson 27 Nov 2007
12:38 am

The comment on ordering one of these when the bar is slammed has elevated you a few rungs up my ladder…(If only all my customers watched this webcast).  Like your passion for the Old Fashioned…I have similairly tweaked my Mojito recipe numerous times over the years. I look forward to trying yours tomorrow.  Keep em coming Mr. Hess.

blair frodelius 6 Apr 2008
11:22 am

I’ve always used spearmint leaves, but a previous post got me to thinking about experimenting with other herbs.  I think I’ll try lemonbalm next.

Callum 25 Apr 2008
10:25 pm

Disagree with your comments to customers - the Mojito is my favourite cocktail, and I’m always happy to take the time to make a good Mojito, regardless of how busy the bar is.

Personally, I’d use lime wedges instead of juice and muddle them with the mint and sugar and garnish with a sprig of mint - if you slap the mint between your hands and place next to the straws then the customer will get a wonderful whiff of mint everytime they sip their drink.

I can’t imagine some of the horrendous shortcuts that might be used - I always use fresh ingredients.

Chris Chitty 18 Sep 2008
4:21 am

I have looked everywhere for a citrus press like the one you use here, would you mind telling us what kind it is/where to find one?

Much Appreciated,

Chris

Robert Hess 18 Sep 2008
5:09 am

Chris,

That is an antique “Ebaloy” juicer that I am using here. They are no longer being made, and so you have to keep a lookout at antique shops, garage sales, and eBay for it.

-Robert

Ruxton 18 Jan 2009
1:32 pm

What sort of folding knife is that?

Robert Hess 18 Jan 2009
2:41 pm

Don’t you just love that folding knife I’m using? It’s a folding Chef’s knife, which works really well as part of my traveling bar kit since it is nice big blade that is plenty large enough to cut through even a grapefruit, and by folding like it does, it keeps the blade safely tucked away when not in use.

It’s made by A. G. Russell, and is called a “Folding Hocho”, you can get it here:
http://www.agrussell.com/a-g-russell-mini-folding-hocho-with-vg10/p/AGhhh136VG10/

spoon_creature 23 Jul 2009
11:02 pm

Howdy Robert,
Thanks for the great show, it’s fascinating and inspiring.
A mojito always brings to mind muddling, which is my preferred way to make it.
Sometimes though, I do get an order for 4 at once amongst 10 other drinks.
Would it be too far-gone a blasphemy to prepare a mint (and possibly a few lime peels)-infused simple syrup, then add the rum, lime juice, and soda? There would definitely still be a mint garnish, just so that it makes a visible appearance.

If so, how much of such a syrup would match the sugar/water/mint muddle of your recipe? Thanks and keep up the good work!

Robert Hess 24 Jul 2009
3:54 am

Spoon, it might seem that trying to make up a flavored syrup to ease the construction of a Mojito when things get busy would be useful, but the flavor of the mint doesn’t hold up. The end result is a Mojito that can’t stand up to one that is freshly made. I am very much of the mindset that if any ‘shortcuts’ you might employ would lessen the quality of the drink, then they should not be used.

Matt Joy 2 Mar 2010
7:44 pm

Mr. Hess,  I just recently found a person selling an Ebaloy juicer, but he has two models. Both have a removable crush plate, but one is dome shaped with a slight indent at the top and another has the typical star pattern usually seen on manual juicers where you twist the fruit back and forth over the top of it. I was wondering which of the two your model has and if you think either would be particularly better than the other seeing as this is a press and no twisting is involved?  I only have 2 days to decide, if you see this in time and are able to reply quickly I would be most appreciative and grateful.  Thanks!

Peter_Timms 15 Jul 2012
6:37 am

So good. Thanks for the recipe.

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