The balmy, cigar-laced, cocktail-sipping, wise-guy days of Cuba are long gone… or are they?
Some things have changed but some things never do… and that sweet by-gone era of mafia-supported elegance has given us the Mojito, a cooling minty libation straight from the Sevilla Hotel and other Cuban landmarks of years gone by.
The Mojito was born in Cuba early in the century and quickly became popular with Havana’s upper-crust.
Today it’s the Cuban National Drink.
The Mojito lifted fresh mint out of its bit part as a cocktail garnish and turned it into the cornerstone of a refreshing beverage… similar to a Mint Julep but different at the same time.
A simple blend of sugar, mint leaves, lime juice, Rum, ice, more Rum and soda water (strictly in that order), the Mojito is a glass sparkling with bubbles and greenery, garnished with a sprig of mint on top and a wedge of lime.
The first step in the creation of a Mojito is to “muddle” (or crush together) the mint leaves and sugar syrup to release mint oil into the mixture. For this you will need a muddler… or a baseball bat or a spoon or a Seal club or some other blunt object.
The other key to successful Mojitos is letting one half of your squeezed lime bob in the mixture. Like a sailor lost at sea.
The oils from the rind add a faint bitterness that make the drink what it is… a refreshing break from the humidity.
As you sit and chew on mint leaves after you’ve finished your drink you’ll notice one of the Mojito’s greatest charms: it’s one of the rare cocktails that actually improves the odor of your breath.
Twelve of them go down as easy as two… making for an interesting “minty fresh” feeling that lasts all night.