A great summertime drink, the Mojito. Photo by Donna Turner Ruhlman.

We’ve been on the road visiting our son at camp and have returned to the usual sea of email and backlog of work. So forgive me for reposting this classic, the Mojito. I’m not sure if everyone has seen the nightly news, but there are reports of a widespread heat wave. Just wanted to make sure you all knew. So if you’re in just about any place in the Lower 48, I definitely recommend preparing this cocktail in its traditional manner, in a highball glass, topped with soda water, plenty of it if temps are in the high nineties where you are.

Originally posted June 8, 2012

I’ve loved seeing the mutability of cocktails simply by changing the spirit during these Friday Cocktail Hour posts. This cocktail is in effect a mint julep made with rum, therefore called a Mojito. Of course what also distinguishes the Mojito from the julep is the lime juice and sugar, the intense sweet and sour. So, does that mean it’s like a whiskey sour with mint and rum? Yes, but no egg white. Or like a daiquiri without the mint? All of the above!

Regardless, this is a fabulous cocktail to make in the summer when the mint is taking over the garden and the heat calls out for a cooling rum drink. Again, I love the effect of the pulverized mint, the powerful minty flavor it brings to the sweet/sour lime, and the vivid, good-for-you greenness. Old school is simply to muddle the sugar and mint. I’ve never liked the scraps of mint floating dirtily in the clear rum, sticking inelegantly to the teeth. Even more reason to pulverize, grinding up the sugar along with it, and strain. Traditionally, club soda finishes the drink, but unless you intend to drink five of them, why dilute the goodness?

So, herewith, a modified version for the hale and hearty.

The Mighty Mojito

  • 10 to 12 broad mint leaves
  • 1 tablespoon/15 grams sugar
  • 3 ounces/90 grams rum
  • Juice from half a lime (about 1 tablespoon/15 grams)
  • Wedge of lime for garnish (optional)
  1. Combine the mint, sugar, and 1/2 ounce of the rum in a mortar and pulverize it with a pestle until the mint is a paste and the sugar is dissolved.
  2. Add the remaining rum to the mortar and let it rest while you ready a lowball glass with ice.
  3. Pour the lime over the ice. Strain the rum-mint-sugar over the ice. Press the mint in the strainer to squeeze out as much liquid as possible.
  4. Garnish with lime wedges, if using.

Serves 1 (1 is just right, 2 is too many, 3, as I learned in New York with the mint julep, is never enough).

If you liked this post on making Mojitos, check out these other links:

© 2012 Michael Ruhlman. Photo © 2013 Donna Turner Ruhlman. All rights reserved.

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10 Wonderful responses to “Friday Cocktail Hour: The Mojito Revisited”

  • John Robinson

    We really gotta work on this puke-green mint problem of yours :)

  • pushpushthecook

    I like merging a dark and stormy with the mojito by substituting ginger beer for the soda water and dialing back the sugar ever so slightly to keep the sweetness under control. Also, I find that many a mojito is made with light rum as opposed to the dark rum of a dark and stormy. If you’re feeling moody the dark rum carries over nicely in the merger.

  • Allen

    My mint is fragrant, standing at attention, just begging to go into a mint julep, mojito or Thai Beef salad.

    My cocktail tip of the day: Negroni over sparkling water with a little beet juice, during the wee hours, when its cool.

    Beet juice makes it good for you, health food goddamit!

    Cheers, happy Friday all!

  • joeinvegas

    Tons of mint in my yard, will try this tonight when sitting by the pool – it should be around 102 when we hit the water around sunset (water temp is 93, from sun alone – just as we like it)

  • Tana

    I confess to making a mint simple syrup for my mojitos. I will also add mint leaves, but it’s for consistency that I choose the simple syrup.

    Lord, what a refreshing beverage!

  • Ben

    I’ll definitely have to try this. I’ve always liked mojitos, but never liked a mint julep until I tried your version. Bourbon is a strong flavor, and the mint needs a whole lot of muddling (and a decent quantity) to stand up to it. A lot of juleps taste like sweetened bourbon, but yours is nicely balanced. This mojito recipe also sounds good because I’m not a huge fan of the taste of white rum (more a fan of Appleton Estate) but this sounds like it will really emphasize the mint and lime.

  • Miguel Massens

    As a side note, back in the day in Cuba instead of mint they used spearmint, what they call “hierba buena” (good herb), to make mojitos. It has a slightly different flavor profile

  • Rhonda

    Hemingway!

    Yes, I am keeping up with the blog when I can.

    P.S. – I changed the ratio of your margarita to 3.5 – 2 – juice of 3 limes and 1 finger pinch of sea salt. I call it the “I work with douches and the air conditioning is not working in the kitchen”.

  • jaime @ asweetroad

    I went to Cuba a few years ago and the mojitos were unlike any other. I want to say it was because the sugar (as well as the Rum) has a slightly different taste in Cuba, but I think a lot of it also came from a fresh and simple approach like this recipe.

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