Classic Mojito

Rumor has it “mojito” translates roughly as “little spell.” With all that white rum, lime, and mint, well, yeah, we’ll willingly be under its spell.

Three glasses of classic mojito, with two lime wedges and a jar of sugar beside them.

Though Hemingway popularized the mojito with a single backhanded compliment to his favorite Havana watering holes, declaring, “My mojito in La Bodeguita, my daiquiri in El Floridita,” the cocktail’s origin can be traced back to the sixteenth-century el Draque, a crude blend of lime, sugar, and aguardiente, invented by pirates on expedition with Sir Francis Drake. [Editor’s Note: Aguardiente is an anise-flavored, sugarcane-based liquor that roughly translates to “firewater.” Sounds like our kind of elixir.]

Eventually, the aguardiente was replaced with smooth, light-bodied rums elaborated in the late 1800s and the mojito was cast. This recipe comes from my uncle Guillermo Tremols who learned it from Deus, a bartender at Havana’s Miramar Yacht Club.–Ana Sofía Peláez

What kind of sugar should I use?

Lest you think the only brilliance in this recipe is the taste, you’re wrong. This mojito recipe cleverly calls for confectioners’ sugar rather than simple syrup or granulated sugar. Because it dissolves just as readily as simple syrup and far more so than granulated sugar, this means no more stirring like crazy and still having gritty granulated sugar at the bottom of your cocktail or having to wait to take the time to make and chill some simple syrup before you take a sip.

Classic Mojito

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  • (1)
  • 5 M
  • 5 M
  • Serves 1
5/5 - 1 reviews
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Using a muddler or the end of a wooden spoon, muddle the mint, lime juice, and sugar in an 8-ounce glass until the mint is gently bruised.

Stir in the rum and add some ice. Top it off with club soda. Add Angostura bitters, if using. Garnish the mojito with a sprig of mint. Originally published September 02, 2015.

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Recipe Testers' Reviews

I am currently reading Ernest Hemingway's A Moveable Feast. I thought that drinking some mojitos would be fitting. I love them. And although I've never been able to replicate at home the amazing flavors and experiences that I had while drinking mojitos in Puerto Rico, this recipe came close.

The mojito was the nice mix of flavors that I expect. I appreciated that it wasn't overly sweet. I liked using the club soda for fizz—I’ve tried some recipes with lemon-lime soda and always find the finished product too sweet. The bitters added a nice depth of flavor, although I think I might try making another batch without them for comparison (I was planning on making 2 batches, one with and one without, but I got excited and put the bitters in the entire batch.)

I had wonderful spearmint from my garden to use, and I don't own a muddler, so I used the end of a large wooden spoon to bruise the mint. In the end, a refreshing cocktail to enjoy with my book on a sunny summer afternoon.

This recipe makes the perfect mojito. Really it does. The balance of lime and sugar is perfect. Mojitos are supposed to be sweet, and this one is, but not in excess. It's not shy about the mint, either, which is as it should be. The optional bitters are a nice touch, rounding out the flavor and adding a hint of complexity. Add to all that the fact that you can mix it up right in a highball glass—no need for a shaker, no need to make simple syrup—and you might find yourself with a new favorite after-work libation.


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  1. Since discovering this recipe I make it all summer long as the best use imaginable for the pots of mint robustly growing on my patio. It is very fast and easy and good. On occasion, I have used ginger beer instead of club soda, and in a pinch, bottled key lime juice works well if you don’t have fresh limes on hand. I also have sometimes added mint syrup because I had it (but reduced the sugar when doing so). This recipe is flexible and can easily be adapted if desired. Mojito’s are our favorite summer cocktail and this is our favorite go-to mojito recipe. Thanks LC!

    1. Thank you, Lynn! As a huge fan of a Dark and Stormy, I love your tip about using ginger beer. I see a spicy mojito in my future.

  2. As I am a European citizen, I traveled to Cuba many times without having to worry about any political nonsense. Upon arrival in Havana, I stop first at the Inglaterra hotel and have a mojito on their patio. It is refreshing to observe the busy street while relaxing from the flight. The mojitos in Cuba are made with “Yerba Buena” and, at first, I thought the expression refers to a particular kind of mint. After researching the web, that almost any type of mint is called Yerba Buena in different countries. It really depends on availability and your taste, as the different mints have distinct differences in taste. I personally prefer the apple mint for mine, and I smash the mint completely with the ice to extract maximum of its aroma. If the resulting appearance offends some readers, they can choose to use a strainer to remove the floating leave fragments.

    I had an excellent mojito at the Granma Museum bar in Havana during my last visit in 2010. The bartender told me that he used 7up instead of sugar and soda. This became my mojito of choice since.

    1. Ivo, I love hearing your history with the drink! And I have some serious Cuba envy going on at the moment. It’s on my list, and you’ve just bumped it to the top. Many kind thanks for taking the time to share your experiences.

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