As one of the world's most famous cocktails, Mojitos should be easy to get right, right? Add a bit of soda water, stir in some sugar, toss in a handful of ice, a few springs of mint, a glug of rum, and a squeeze of lime – or was it lemon?
Despite being a staple of many bar menus, the Mojito can often end up going a bit wrong – using too much sugar, shovelfuls of crushed ice or bargain bucket rum are common problems. If you're thinking of serving Cuban cocktails to guests at a party, or even fixing yourself a cool, fresh Mojito on a hot summer's afternoon, here's how to capture the true taste of Havana in a glass.
First things first, compañeros. The Mojito is an important drink to get right, so you've got to get serious about the ingredients.
Cylindrical, highball glasses are perfect. These will allow you to not only fit in all of your ingredients, but will also have enough room for a straw or stirrer, so you can continue to release the flavours of the Mojito as you drink it.
No messing about here. Havana Club 3 Años is the only rum for an authentic Cuban mojito experience. Made in Cuba, birthplace of the mojito, it is aged to allow the colours and aromas to develop, giving the rum its original taste: accents of vanilla, banana, caramelised pears, hints of smoked oak, smoky chocolate and vanilla notes.
White. Granulated. That's it.
This can be any kind of good quality sparkling water. Be sure to chill it first, though, to give the cocktail that instant refreshing hit.
The green stuff
This bit's important. You'll need to source the greenest lime and freshest mint for your cocktail. The best mint for a mojito is the hierbabuena, grown only in Cuba. Chances are, your local store won't stock it, so go for the next best thing: spearmint. Be sure to use the whole sprig of mint - this packs the drink full of flavour and also stops the leaves from getting stuck in your straw or in between your teeth. As a tip, only bruise your mint when muddling the drink, rather than tearing it; this will allow the natural oils to infuse.
Four to five cubes, or enough to fill the glass. Authentic Cuban recipes never use crushed ice because full cubes melt more slowly – meaning the drink will hold its flavour for longer.
Prepare with passion, stir well and enjoy responsibly!
How to make the perfect Mojito in seven steps:
• In a highball glass, add two teaspoons of white granulated sugar
• Squeeze in the juice of half a lime, or enough to cover the sugar
• Push in two sprigs of mint and muddle well, so that the natural mint juices are released. Be sure to include the stalks - these give the mojito its freshness
• Pour in around 9cl (90ml) of sparkling water and muddle all the ingredients together well, so that natural mint juices are released
• Add 4.5cl (45ml) of Havana Club 3 Años, and stir all the ingredients together to dissolve the sugar
• Finish with four ice cubes
• Stir with a straw and serve.
Fancy taking the 'how to make a Mojito in under a minute' challenge? Try it alongside our mixologist.