Just the word itself evokes images of cigars and old cars, salsa dances and revolutions, pastel buildings, and beautiful women.
All of that is encapsulated in one drink: the Mojito.
Unlike most cocktails, where you just have to find the right ingredients, shake them all up and strain them into the right glass, the Mojito is deceptively complex to get right.
What appears to be such a simple drink actually requires a delicate balance, but once you’ve nailed it, it’s by far the most satisfying cocktail to sip and enjoy.
If you’re tired of getting the same frustrating results from bang-average Mojito recipes, then we have you covered with our simple, easy-to-follow, step-by-step guide!
What’s in a Mojito? The Classic Mojito Ingredients
This cocktail is old, owing its origins to a drink tried by English explorer Sir Francis Drake in the 1580s when he visited Havana.
The Mojito has endured down the years, becoming a favorite of Ernest Hemingway along with many many more.
The Mojito is authentically Cuban, consisting of White Rum, mint leaves, lime juice, and brown sugar, all things found native to the Island.
The White Rum gives a crisp, lighter flavor, rather than the heavy and sticky sweetness of, say, a dark and stormy (white rum is still going to be sweet since it is distilled from sugar cane, but not quite as much).
So should you use a sugar cube or simple syrup?
This debate rages on when it comes to Mojitos and if your goal is to save time and make these quickly and easily, you could use simple syrup.
However, if you want to save time this cocktail really isn’t the best pick.
Using either a sugar cube or a couple of teaspoons is going to give the drink a more authentic and less processed flavor, and will mark your skill as a bartender since the Mojito is such a hard drink to make.
The final component you’re going to need for the Mojito cocktail is crushed ice.
Building a Mojito with regular ice cubes doesn’t give the same consistency to the drink, so to keep it classic you’ll need it crushed.
Assuming you don’t have an ice crusher, putting a handful of ice cubes in a blender and blending to your desired consistency will do the job.
If you don’t have a blender, then just folding up some ice in a clean tea towel and crushing it with a rolling pin is going to work just as well (and it’s much more fun).
What if I don’t have a muddler?
That’s absolutely fine. The handle of a wooden spoon will do the job. It might be a little more fiddly and take a little more time though so while it will get you muddling up lime, sugar, and mint with ease, I would recommend getting a muddler.
It’ll come in handy for plenty more cocktails.
How to Make a Mojito in 3 Steps: The Best Mojito Recipe
So here we are…the best Mojito recipe for perfecting this Cuban classic.
Muddle three lime wedges, a brown sugar cube (or two teaspoons), and a couple of mint leaves at the bottom of your highball glass.
Make sure you take your time on this step. We want to make sure the sugar is fully dissolved and there’s plenty of lime juice to give the drink that strong, aromatic flavor.
Once you have muddled the base of your drink, add 2 ounces of white rum and fill your highball glass with crushed ice.
3. Top and Garnish
Fill your glass almost to the top with club soda and stir with a bar spoon. Taste, and add more sugar if you’d prefer.
Once you’ve added the right amount of sugar, stir again and garnish with a lime wheel and a mint sprig.
Be sure to give the mint a good slap before you garnish to release those fresh, aromatic flavors!
Popular Mojito Variations
1. Pineapple Mojito
You’ve probably heard of this one plenty of times before, and seen it in countless bars. The Pineapple Mojito works brilliantly because the Mojito is a sweet cocktail.
For this drink, you want to follow all the same steps as the classic, but top the drink with half pineapple juice and half club soda.
We don’t want to make the drink too sweet or lose the fizziness, so if it’s too much, cut back on the amount of sugar muddled in step one.
2. Gin Gin Mule
Is it a twist on a Mojito or is it a twist on a Moscow Mule? The name would suggest the latter, but the ingredients set it out as close to a Mojito.
Replacing the Rum in a Mojito with Gin is going to alter the profile of the drink dramatically, making it less sweet. If that’s to your liking, great. If you prefer a sweeter drink, just add more sugar in step one.
You’ve got to try this Gin variant because the wide range of herbs and botanicals give this drink such a unique taste!
3. Raspberry Mojito
Another regular on cocktail menus across the world, it sometimes feels like it’s easier to find a Raspberry Mojito than a classic these days!
The trick here is to muddle about 3-5 raspberries in the bottom of your highball with the rest.
You could use Bacardi Raspberry Rum to make the drink, but a much sexier way is to use regular white rum, then drizzle ¾ ounce of Chambord over the top of your drink and watch it sink, infusing the cocktail with even more raspberry flavor.
4. Coconut Mojito
Don’t worry, the Coconut Mojito isn’t some complicated Pina Colada cross breed where you’re shaking up coconut cream and building a Mojito all at once!
This simple riff on the classic Mojito just uses coconut rum in place of the standard white rum.
It’s a pretty subtle change but will have a solid impact on the flavor by just bringing that extra coconut note to your drink. Subtle, but exciting!
5. El Mojito/ Agave Mojito
A quick trip west across the gulf from Cuba and we reach Mexico, where the key ingredient for the El Mojito comes from: Tequila.
In this drink, it’s perfectly acceptable to use syrup instead of sugar as agave syrup helps enhance the flavor of Tequila and gives your drink more of a punch.
That aside, the rest of this drink stays the same, apart from the obvious switch of the rum for tequila. It’s a great drink that kicks like nothing else and if you’re a Mojito lover, it’s definitely worth a try.
6. Dark Mojito
Maybe you’re a rum sort of person, but not the light kind. If you’re a fan of the dark, spicy, and heavy distilled sugar cane spirits, then why not make your Mojito from them?
Okay, it won’t be a traditional Mojito, but there’s no reason to miss out on this classic cocktail.
Making a Mojito with dark rum is actually a great way to mix it up if you’re a bit comfortable and familiar with the classic, so it’s worth a try for anyone across the rum drinking spectrum!
I started bartending in 2017, just 4 days after my 18th birthday, at a cocktail bar in my hometown. I immediately fell in love with the art and science of mixology and have since worked in bars across Yarm, York and Liverpool in England.