MojitoHavana, Cuba (date unknown)

Some cocktails can be easily pinned down to a specific point of origin. The Mojito isn’t one of them. The first printed recipe is in the 1931 bar manual from Sloppy Joe’s in Havana. But there are records of Caribbean pirates mixing unrefined rum, sugar, lime, and mint going back to the late 16th century. Who knows? One thing’s for sure: The Mojito’s trendiness a while back wasn’t because it was the new kid on the block.

Most places I’ve seen make this over-muddle the mint, demolishing it into little shreds you’re picking out of your teeth for the next hour. Adding lime chunks to the muddling mix will get a huge boost from the oils in their rinds. Take care and do your muddling in two passes – you’ll get a much nicer drink. And cleaner teeth.

THE KIT

Hardware: Shaker, Jigger, Muddler, Barspoon
Ice: Ice cube, Cracked ice
Glassware: Collins glass
Spirits: Light rum (recommended: Havana Club 3, Caña Brava, Cruzan)
Mixers & Liqueurs: Simple syrup, Seltzer or sparkling mineral water (recommended: Pellegrino) 
Juices, Accents, & Garnishes: Lime chunks, Fresh spearmint

HOW TO

In a chilled shaker, add:

Half a lime, cored and cut into four chunks
2 oz light rum
3/4 oz simple syrup

Muddle well to express all lime juice and rind oils, then add:

10 spearmint leaves

Muddle again lightly to release the mint’s aromatics. Add an ice cube and let it steep in a cool place for a few minutes.

Fill a Collins glass about two-thirds of the way up with cracked ice. Gently strain the infused rum over the cracked ice – don’t shake too much. Top with:

1 oz seltzer or sparkling mineral water

Stir lightly to blend and garnish with a mint sprig that’s been lightly slapped against the rim of the glass to release its aromatic oils.

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