The Mojito has been offered by French bartenders since the 1990s. But who knows about the origin of this expertly made rum-based mix produced in every bar in the world? Returning to the source is required to understand the success of the Mojito cocktail. It was born on the island of Cuba, just like the Havana Club rum. In this way, through their common geographical origin, the link between the Cuban brand and the Cuban cocktail was established in over 80 countries in the world.
Discovering the authentic Cuban Mojito
A brief investigation of the Mojito’s roots
No doubt about it: the origin of the Mojito is 100% Cuban. Its whole history rests on that of sugar cane, from which the rum is made. Legend says that in the 19th century, the pirates of the Drake pirate ship were drinking sugar cane-based eaux de vie, which were being produced on the island of Cuba and made with a few scented mint leaves. In 1910, lime juice would add a kick to the original beverage. The fresh flavoring would take the name of « Mojo ».
While it may have been inspired by this, the Mojito wasn’t born either in the holds or on the bridge of a pirate ship, but in fact in a bar in Havana. Drawn in by the drink mixing game – which later we would cleverly name « mixology » – a Cuban bartender took credit as the father of this cocktail, which he created from the best local rum of the day. He brought balance to the flavors in his mix and revealed his production ritual. He was captivated by his job and worked for the bar-club « La Concha » to the west of the capital, an area that was home to many clubs. His success was confirmed in the 1920s and ’30s; we find traces of his recipe in the « Manual Oficial del Club de Cantineros », dating to the period of prohibition in the United States.
The Mojito cocktail would be noted in all the literature throughout the famous bars « La Floridita » and « La Bodeguita del Medio », which contributed to its development.
There’s only one recipe for the authentic Cuban Mojito!
As the official drink of Cuba, the Mojito competes with bartenders’ most liked cocktails: the Cosmopolitan, the Americano… The true Cuban Mojito is made with ice cubes, not crushed ice. They use soaked mint leaf stems, not the mint leaves. These hold in the essential oils that give it its flavor.
In Cuba, they use white powdered sugar and not brown sugar. Angostura appeared in Mojitos much later to give it a hint of bitterness. Its presence called to mind the flavor of whiskey. While every bartender has his own trick, the classic Mojito remains a safe bet.
Recipe for a cuban style Havana Club Mojito
You need a Havana Club Mojito glass, two teaspoons of white sugar, and the juice from half a lime. Don’t add any lime slices, in order to avoid the bitter taste of the lime skin. Add two sprigs of fresh mint and 9 cl (3 oz) of sparkling water. Mix everything, then add 4.5 cl (1.5 oz) of Havana Club 3 años and, finally, 4 whole ice cubes…
Drink in moderation, obviously.