Perhaps, it’s fitting to place this article after the one about the Daiquiri and accompany it with Hemingway’s iconic phrase, “My mojito in La Bodeguita, my daiquiri in El Floridita,” bearing the great author’s signature. This famous inscription in Hemingway’s alleged handwriting adorns the walls of La Bodeguita bar in Havana, drawing in tourists and their currency. Intriguingly, Hemingway was indeed known to while away his hours with a glass of Daiquiri at El Floridita, but he did not partake in Mojitos at La Bodeguita. You see, the Mojito didn’t align with Hemingway’s penchant for potent, less sugary libations. The inscription is a deceptive ruse conjured up by the bar’s owner, making it a fitting epigraph for an article on the art of successful promotional trickery. What a pity.

However, Hemingway’s disinterest in the Mojito neither disrespects nor diminishes the drink’s popularity. On the global stage, the Mojito hails from Cuba, a birthplace well-suited for a cocktail prominently featuring rum. Yet, the origins of the Mojito remain veiled in the mists of time, as no single author claims its creation; rather, it gradually evolved from local traditions.

One particularly romantic version suggests that the precursor to the Mojito was inspired by Sir Francis Drake, the legendary sailor and a thorn in the side of the Spanish Crown. According to this tale, Drake sailed into Havana in pursuit of the Spanish Armada’s treasure. Finding the gold intact, Cuba received “El Draque,” a libation crafted from rum (or, according to some, brandy), lime juice, and mint. Some versions of the story propose that Drake and his crew both concocted and bequeathed the recipe to the locals, while others suggest that when Drake’s quest for gold came to naught, he offloaded his cargo of mint to the islanders. Regardless of the specifics, mint was undoubtedly the key contribution made by Drake, as rum paired with lime or lemon juice was already popular among British sailors.

In a more pragmatic account of the Mojito’s genesis, it emerged as a remedy for masking the flavors of cheap, subpar rum, a tradition that took root naturally among the resourceful Cubans. The affordability of rum and the abundance of limes across the island made this practice commonplace.

Alas, the mists of time have obscured the historical truth. What remains indisputable, however, is that during the Prohibition era, when Cuban bars teemed with thirsty Americans, the Mojito had already attained great popularity. The need to conceal the harshness of rum had diminished significantly, thanks to improvements in rum quality, particularly the efforts of Bacardi. Nevertheless, the concept was a sound one, and its appeal remained enduring.

The classic Mojito comprises five essential components: white rum, sugar, lime juice, mint, and soda. The Mojito takes its place among long drinks, a category characterized by relatively large volumes (typically between 160-400 ml) and moderately low alcohol content. To be precise, it falls within the highball subcategory, where a single alcohol component mingles with non-alcoholic mixes. This delightful concoction is traditionally served over ice in a Collins glass.

One fundamental element of a flawless Mojito, but not limited to it, is the use of fresh ingredients. It’s disheartening that in some establishments, synthetic mixes have surreptitiously replaced the real deal. They might plop a concoction into your glass, add rum, and dub it your Mojito. You should remain vigilant. If the bar lacks fresh mint, you’d be well advised to steer clear of the Mojito in that establishment. In fact, you might want to steer clear of the place altogether. While I wouldn’t encourage replacing fresh-squeezed lime juice with its commercial counterpart, it’s certainly the lesser evil when compared to the abomination known as the “ready Mojito mix.”

Here’s the IBA recipe:


-40 ml white rum
-30 ml fresh lime juice
-20 ml simple syrup (or two teaspoons of sugar; I personally prefer simple syrup)
-6 mint springs


1.Muddle the mint in the glass with lime juice and simple syrup. You can use a dedicated muddler (a wooden pestle), a long spoon, or simply rub the mint gently between your palms before adding it to the other ingredients. The idea is to release the oils gently, not pulverize the mint.
2.Fill the glass with ice cubes.
3.Pour in the rum and top it off with soda water.
4.Garnish your creation with mint and a slice of lime. A straw serves as the final touch.

This cocktail is the perfect companion for a sweltering summer day, a testament to the simple elegance of a classic.

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