MAGICAL MINT The mojito is not the only cocktail to include the flavor of fresh mint, other notables being America's mint julep and the southside, essentially a mojito made with gin and lemon juice. It is, however, the most celebrated. Debate remains over whether the hierba buena, or "good herb," that was traditionally used in mojitos more closely resembles spearmint or peppermint. However, as soon as the aromatic oils of mint meet the pure, clean taste of Bacardi® Superior Rum, with glimmers of tart lime and sweetness, all disagreement disappears with the first refreshing sip.
THE MOJITO TODAY
2 parts Bacardi® Superior
12 fresh mint leaves
3/5 part bar sugar or simple syrup
1/2 lime, cut into wedges
1 sprig of fresh mint for garnish
In a highball glass, muddle 12 mint leaves and lime wedges. Add simple syrup or sugar and top with ice. Add Bacardi® Superior and top with club soda. Stir gently to combine and serve with a sprig of mint for garnish and a straw.
Try these simple ways to take this classic cocktail in new directions.
Replace half of the mint with another herb, like basil or lemon thyme.
Muddle fresh seasonal fruit, like berries pineapple or melon, with the limes.
Use only the juice of the limes and blend with ice into a frozen drink.
Use sparkling wine in place of club soda for a Mojito Royale.
HISTORY OF THE MOJITO
1586 English privateer and explorer Richard Drake ravages Spanish settlements throughout the Caribbean, his crew relishing a medicinal precursor to the mojito known as "El Draque," a combination of aguardiente, lime, sugarcane juice and mint.
1862 Bacardi is founded by Don Facundo Bacardí Massó in Santiago de Cuba, where he soon revolutionizes rum production by developing the world's first smooth, light-bodied spirit, making the mojito a more palatable and refined drink.
1936 With Prohibition's repeal in the U.S., Eddie Woelke, a professional bartender with experience in Paris and Havana, wins the Madison Avenue Week cocktail competition. His Madison Avenue cocktail includes light rum, lime juice, bitters, triple sec and mint leaves, strikingly similar to a mojito.
1947 In Bartender's Guide by Trader Vic, Victor Jules Bergeron, Jr., creator of the Trader Vic tiki restaurants, offers his recipe for a mojito using "Puerto Rico" rum. Bacardi Corporation was, in fact, registered in Puerto Rico and given a license by the island's Treasurer to conduct business starting in 1936, establishing Bacardi safely in the U.S. territory.
1957 A mojito recipe published in The New York Times, notes the cocktail is "familiar to habitués of Havana, especially those who have leaned on the long mahogany bar at Sloppy Joe's." Sloppy Joe's ceased to exist in Havana following the Cuban revolution of 1959.
1960 Joseph Baum, the president of Restaurant Associates and creator of New York dining institutions such as the Four Seasons, opens La Fonda del Sol on Manhattan's West 50th Street. Among the rum drinks is an early menu appearance of the Mojito Criolla, made with rum, lime and crushed mint, priced at $1.35.
1990 The embrace of Latino culture emanating from U.S. strongholds like Miami's South Beach boosts the image of the mojito as a trendy party drink, positioning it to ride the crest of the cocktail Renaissance.
2008 Utilizing techniques borrowed from molecular gastronomy, Eben Freeman of New York City's Tailor restaurant creates the "mojito of the future," consisting of gelatinized balls of mint water and lime juice suspended in carbonated Bacardi® Superior Rum.