Classic Mojito is a beautiful Cuban cocktail that is slightly sweet and refreshing. There are only five ingredients here: mint, simple syrup, lime juice, rum, and seltzer water. Once you master this simple cocktail, you can try it in many other flavors.
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What Is Mojito?
This is a summertime classic cocktail everyone loves to enjoy during the scorching hot days. Combination of citrus flavor, sweetness of sugar, and fresh herb flavor of mint is a perfect compliment to light rum. Finish it all with fizzy seltzer water and you will have a slightly sweet, refreshing cocktail.
History of this summer favorite recipe is a bit fuzzy but we do know what it originated in Cuba a couple of hundred years ago. It became popular around 1930 in Havana and started to become popular worldwide after that.
The true original recipe might be lost but the cocktail we know and love today has a perfect balance of sweet, sour, and mint flavors in a smooth rum cocktail. As long as you stick to these classic ingredients, don’t overload it with sugar, and don’t muddle the mint too much, you will have an amazing cocktail.
Ingredients You Need
Mint – spearmint is best in Mojitos because it’s not as strong and powerful as peppermint. If you have to use peppermint, use about half the amount because it’s strong. Some mint packaging don’t specify what type of mint it is, in that case use the normal amount per recipe.
Lime juice – freshly squeezed lime juice is always best.
Sweetener – many classic recipes call for white granulated sugar or super-fine sugar. Personally, I find it to be such a pain to muddle mint until sugar is dissolved and there is a chance of over-muddling. So I highly recommend simple syrup. It’s easy to make with 1:1 sugar and hot water and store in a closed jar, in the refrigerator.
White rum – use your favorite white rum because you will taste it clearly.
Seltzer water – use simple carbonated water or carbonated mineral water to finish this cocktail.
Tools You’ll Need
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Cocktail shaker – a shaker is actually optional because you can muddle mint right in the glass
Muddler – for herbs, choose a flat end muddler and one that is not lacquered. If you don’t have a muddler, use a small wooden spoon or a wooden utensil handle with a flat end.
Jigger – this is my absolute favorite and I have quite a few of them
Highball glasses – you will need a glass that can hold 10-12 oz. These are the curved glasses pictured.
How To Muddle Mint
Yes, there is a wrong and a right way to muddle mint. You want mint to be slightly bruised to release the sweet minty flavor. What you don’t want is to mash it to the pulp.
If you look at the mint leaf, it has veins running all along and those veins are filled with chlorophyll and it is bitter. So when you break up all those veins, the chlorophyll gets mixed into your drink. This will give your Mojitos a bitter taste.
The key is to gently press the mint leaves only about 3 or 4 times with a flat ended muddler (or wooden spoon) to release the mint flavor.
How To Make Mojitos
Take mint leaves off the stem and add them into the cocktail shaker. Squeeze lime juice into the shaker as well and add simple syrup. Use a muddler to gently press on mint leaves 3 or 4 times. Pour in rum and shake it all together for a few seconds.
Add crushed ice into the highball glass, about half way full, and pour in the rum mixture. Add 3-4 oz of seltzer water, gently stir to combine and serve.
Flavor Variations To Try
Fruit Mojitos – you can mash your favorite fruit into the cocktail and enjoy the sweet subtle flavor. Try using mango, peaches, kiwi, papaya, apricots, or watermelon and mash it in the cocktail shaker before adding mint.
Berries – just like fruit, berries are great in this cocktail. Try strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, blackberries, and blackcurrant.
Coconut Mojitos – this one is our favorite flavor and you can achieve it with a substituting coconut rum and coconut syrup instead of simple syrup.
Spicy – give your taste buds a jolt with some spice from jalapeno. Muddle a couple of jalapeno slices along with mint and try to mixed fruity flavors too like strawberry, mango, or pineapple.
Basil – this is an interesting variation where you’d use basil instead of mint. Add other flavors like cool and refreshing cucumber or sweet strawberry.
You will need a flat end muddler to muddle mint. When working with herbs, choose a muddler without ridges and one that is not lacquered. If you don’t have a muddler, use a small wooden spoon or a wooden utensil handle with a flat end.
Absolutely! Mojitos have enough distinct flavors to make them virgin washout compromising much of the taste. To make virgin mojitos, simply omit the rum and follow the rest of ingredients and recipe instructions.
Rum! Rum is the traditional and the best alcohol to use. Of course, if you don’t have or don’t like rum you can always go with vodka. Vodka is flavorless and will be the good substitution for rum.
You can also try a Brazilian “version” of rum called Cachaça. Cachaça is the main liquor in Caipirinha.
More Cocktail Recipes To Try
Classic Mojito Recipe
- 5-10 mint leaves amount depends on size of leaves
- 3/4 oz lime juice about 1/2 lime
- 1 oz simple syrup
- 2 oz white rum
- 3-4 oz seltzer water
- Take mint leaves off the stem and add them into the cocktail shaker. Squeeze lime juice into the shaker as well and add simple syrup.
- Use a muddler to gently press on mint leaves 3 or 4 times.
- Pour in rum and shake it all together for a few seconds.
- Add crushed ice into the highball glass, about half way full, and pour in the rum mixture.
- Add 3-4 oz of seltzer water, gently stir to combine and serve.