Thursday, March 31, 2011

Mojito Part 1: The Classic

What You Need
Powdered sugar
Carbonated water (soda, seltzer, sparkling... just don't use tonic)
Fresh limes
Fresh mint
Light/White rum (decent quality, Bacardi or higher)
Highball glass

Summer is slowly approaching and it's time to start thinking about my summer cocktail for 2011. This has been a personal tradition of mine for about five years... each summer I seem to pick one cocktail and stick with it all season long. Last year was the summer of the mint julip, a southern classic. This year, the mojito has her Cuban claws deeply embedded.
As far as I'm concerned, the mojito is a perfect cocktail: not too sweet or heavy with a great flavor and plenty of zest (from both the rum and the lime). Plus, Ernest fucking Hemmingway drank them, and the only thing that man liked more than drinking was killing shit with huge guns. He is truly a man to be emulated.
This is part one of a two part series, focusing on the classic Cuban mojito. Part two will be a my more personal twist on the drink... but it's important to know where you come from, so here's the classic.

Step 1
: The classic is dependent on a combination of sugar, lime, and mint muddled together to give it that distinctive mojito flavor. To start, drop about six full mint leaves into your highball glass.

Now, fruit murder half of a lime into your glass. Much like lemons, you have to squeeze hard to get every drop out of your lime. Your reign of terror continues... fruits be fucking warned. Tradition varies on how much lime to add... some say a full lime, others say half and garnish with the other half. I say... your choice.

Now you're going to add your powdered sugar. Tradition dictates you use one teaspoon. I suggest at least two, or it gets lost in the mix. Give your contents a quick-yet-gentle stir to help dissolve the sugar.

Step 2: It's time to muddle. You can either get out your muddler or, if you aren't a professional bartender, create what I like to call a ghetto muddler. Find a spoon you don't like and bend it as shown below. It doesn't work as well as an actual muddler, but it does the job.

Now muddle. You'll want to use up-and-down motions (like you're stabbing a hooker) as well as grinding side-to-side motions (like you're crushing a foe's face beneath your jackboot). Try not to tear the mint leaves... you're pressing, not shredding.

Step 3: Fill your glass most of the way up with ice. You'll want to leave some room for your incoming booze and soda.

Now, pour in two ounces of rum and two ounces of seltzer, utilizing your jigger.

Step 4: Dump all of this concoction into your shaker. This is an important yet often overlooked step to making this cocktail... stirring to combine just doesn't do the trick.

Placing both hands firmly on the shaker (top and bottom), shake. Use quick up and down motions and don't stop until the tin is all frosty.

Like so. If you're a pussy, you might want to use a bar towel to insulate your thin, fragile hands from the cold, cold shaker.

Pour back into your highball glass and enjoy.


  1. This makes me want to throw a party, just so I can serve these!

    1. My party advice to you is to have plenty of limes cut & fresh mint leaves plucked in advance and MAKE YOUR MOJITO FIRST! You will be making them non-stop for your guests the rest of the night. But do it anyway!
      This is the first time I've heard powdered sugar; most recipes call for simple syrup. I'm in S FL so my first were made with fresh squeezed cane juice :D I use agave.
      Cardinal rule: Do NOT try to improvise by using things like sour mix XP
      It will NOT work, not even marginally, unless you use the fresh ingredients!