Recipes and tips to make the perfect mojito
The mojito is an old classic, whose creator is not certain. In short there are two theories where one tells the tale that the mojito was created among the black slaves in early America, where an ancestor to todays rum types was used. Another theory is that it was a traveller/explorer who invented a recipe containing mint, lime, cane sugar and the rum of the time. No matter who invented it we are certainly very happy about it.
My personal favorite, perfected through years of testing (1 serving):
- 6 cl 7 year old rum
- 4-6 lime wedges
- 1-2 tea spoons cane sugar
- 4-6 mint leaves
- Club soda
- Crushed ice
- Muddle mint leaves, lime wedges and cane sugar in a highball og collins glass.
- Fill the glass with crushed ice and add rum.
- Stir thoroughly, add some extra ice and top up with club soda
- Server, enjoy
The classic, universal recipe for one mojito according til the IBA
- 4 cl White Cuban Rum
- 3 cl Fresh lime juice
- 6 Mint sprigs
- 2 teaspoons white sugar
- Soda water
- Muddle mint springs with sugar and lime juice.
- Add splash of soda water and fill glass with cracked ice. Pour rum and top with soda water.
- Garnish with spring of mint leaves and lemon slice. Serve with straw.
How to make the perfect mojito
the classic recipe
This video shows how to make the mojito on Cuba, where only the juices from the lime is used, removing the need for a muddler.
The right rum
In a drink like the mojito your rum should be adjusted to your own taste. Don’t let anyone change your personal reference because ”that’s how everyone else does.” Rather, you should test your way to your own preferred rum,, but always keep an open mind towards trying other rum types.
A rule of thumb is that the more rum you prefer in your mojito, the better rum should be used. I prefer a darker, matured, smoother rum, with a deeper, more complex taste, rather than the your, light rum types.
Whether you should use an expensive matured rum for your mojitos is of course your choice, but I’d suggest af middle priced type since all the other tastes in the mojito will be battling with (andre probably drowne) the finer notes in luxury rum types.
Cane sugar – syrup or directly from the sugar bag?
A classic mojito contains grained sugar, which is muddled together with lime, mint and the rum. Most cocktail bars around the world uses ordinary sugar in their recipe but some will used liquid sugar.
What you should use I cannot tell you since it’s up to each persons preference. However I prefer granulated cane sugar in my own mojitos since I find the stirring and the constant changing of the taste of my cocktail to be an essential part of enjoying a mojito.
If you use a syrup, please do not buy a ready-to-pour version (or even worse: a powder to mix with water) – try making it yourself by mixing 2 parts cane sugar with 1 part water in a pan. Heat up the mix and as soon as it starts boiling turn off the heat and remove the pan from the stove.
Allow the syrup to cool of completely and keep refrigerated. Use within 3-4 weeks.
Mint – ALWAYS use fresh mint, but which type is the best?
You should always use fresh mint when preparing your mojitos. Use plenty of mint leaves (8-12 leaves pr. Serving is usually a good rule of thumb).
There are more than 40 types of mint to get hold of, all of the different in taste and looks. I prefer Swiss or Moroccan mint for my mojitos since they are rather sweet and are very aromatic.
Moroccan mint leaves are quite pointy and looks a bit like basil – they aren’t really that nice to look at in a cocktail (they look more like salad leaves) but don’t let that scare you of, the taste is perfect for mojito. If you get to choose between the Swiss and the Moroccan mint, go for the Swiss – it looks better and the taste and aroma is slightly superior to the Moroccan type.
No matter which type your choose the most important thing is that your add enough mint leaves in your mojito. Visit your local greengrocers, he’ll have large bundles of mint leaves prepared for cooking or cocktails (remember to wash thoroughly before use – andalways prefer organic grown produce over “conventional”).
And while you’re there, look for some nice, big, fresh limes – and remember: always pick organic citrus fruits!
Limes – which to buy and how to cut them right
Please don’t buy your limes in your local Wal-Mart or other discount store!
Go to a proper supermarket with respect for their products and customers, or even better visit your local greengrocer (and support your local community at the same time), and buy some nice, big, deep green limes.
To avoid undertaste from pesticides in your mojito, buy organic limes. They have not been sprayed and the zest will not contain potentially dangerous particles.
Go for ripe limes that yields under firm pressure. You will get better taste from them and ripe limes releases notably more juices and aromatic oils.
Cut your limes across the wedges, cutting them all in half. By doing this you get access to much more juice. Leave the zest on since a lot of the taste is found here, but make sure to cut of the stem before use – it adds a bitter taste.
If you’re a perfectionist (like me) try to remove as much as possible of the white pith (which is also quite bitter).
Crushed ice – and nothing else
There’s a reason why, when you’re out on town, that the bartenders add lots of ice to your drinks – and it’s not just to make more money on you:
Lots of ice keeps your cocktail cool longer which means that it will be delicious for a longer time. The perfect amount of ice has been used when the last piece of ice disappears when you take your last sip. It is the same thing with the mojito.
A mojito is a rather potent drink and you should be enjoying it slowly, taking your time to notice all the subtle tastes in it. That’s why plenty of ice is added when mixing it.
If you do not own an ice crusher, a meat hammer or a hard rolling pin combined with some tea towels and a hard surface is your best friend:
Thoroughly wrap a clean(!) tea towel around a block of ice or some ice cubes and pound away until the ice is firmly crushed.
Which glass should be used for a mojito?
It doesn’t really matter as long as it’s quite sturdy, but I’d suggest a rock glass or a highball glass with a rather thick bottom.
The reason it needs to be sturdy:
Due to the muddling of the ingredients, which will be performed in the glass the mojito is being served in, the glass needs to be able to withstand the pressure.
Never is thin, fragile glasses as they’ll break as soon as you provide pressure with the muddler. Using a highball glass has the further advantages that it’s easier to keep all those lovely, tasty ingredients inside the glass (rather than on the table top) and the mojito just looks better when served in a tall glass, with the limes, mint leaves, cane sugar and crushed ice visible from all angles.
A great mojito requires a great muddler
A muddler is one of the most important tools for the bartender when making mojitos. The muddler is used to easily squeeze out the juices and taste of the mint leaves and the limes but be careful not to crush them to bits and pieces since no one likes bits of mint leaves stuck between their teeth.
There are several types of muddlers on the market, most made from wood or plastic. I prefer wood but keep in mind that wooden muddlers shouldn’t be cleaned in your dishwasher – the wood will crack due to the high temperatures.
When using a muddler make try not to break the limes and mint leaves. Try instead to gently squeeze them. And please buy a proper muddler that is rounded at the tip rather than the ”toothed” type that cuts the limes and leaves into tiny pieces. A fork can be used instead but you’ll never get get close to the same result as with a proper muddler.
Club soda – it’s just sparkling water
Club soda is a fancy name for carbonated water, you know, like the sparkling water you pay loads of money for at restaurants. There’s absolutely no need to buy the expensive bottles at the grocery store, the cheaper ones are perfectly fine.
If you do not like the taste of carbonated water you can add some extra sugar and/or lime juice to your mojito, which will hide the ”dry” taste of the water. If your want your mojito to have a sweeter taste you could try lemonade instead – or a mix of both.
Mint syrup – make your own
Earlier I mentioned syrup as an alternative to raw cane sugar. I also commented on which mint types you should use for your mojito. But did you know you could merge them into one single ingredient: Mint Syrup.
I don’t use it myself – as mentioned above I prefer for my mojito to change character as I progress towards the bottom of the glass – but experience tells me that quite a lot of people prefer the same taste through the entire drink.
By making a mint syrup you eliminate the grainy texture from the raw sugar along with the mint leaves so they won’t get stuck in your teeth.
Mint Syrup Recipe
10 mint sprigs (with leaves, remember to rinse thoroughly – and buy organic), 300 g cane sugar and 200 g water is slowly brought to a boil in a pan. Use a cooking spoon to squeeze the mint sprigs and leaves. When it boils, remove from the heat and leave to cool – leave the mint sprigs in the syrup. Keep refrigerated, and use within 4-6 weeks. When using the syrup, use a strainer to avoid the mint parts from entering the mojito.
Other types of syrup you could try:
- licorice root
- juices from a variety of fruit and/or berries
Add a twist to your mojito
In fact, you shouldn’t be afraid to try thing with you mojito. You can’t really break it as long as you use the original recipe as a reference.
Try using different kinds of soda instead of the club soda, maybe ginger ale, lemonade or other fruity sodas, or use a good quality apple- or pear-cider. If you feel really bold, swap the soda with a sparkling wine such as champagne. If you use champagne then congratulations, you’ve just made a Mojito Royal and you have entered the upper echelons of the mojito world.
Mojito – fruit style
Try adding different fruits and berries to your mojito. Grapefruit, strawberry, blueberry, raspberry, watermelon – let your imagination guide you! You could event try a few pieces of cucumber, it tastes really great, and allows for the other ingredients the the mojito to step forward and come alive.
You should also try fruit juice instead of soda (e.g. pineapple, apple, orange, grapefruit, passionfruit) or use a good quality fruit puree. Monin has made some rather good fruit purees but you could just as easily make you own:
Basic Fruit Puree Recipe
Put 500 g fruit of choice, 2-4 tablespoons of sugar, according to taste and 2 tablespoons of lemon juice in a blender or food processor, and blend for at least 30 seconds, or until smooth. Add more sugar according to taste. Pour into a fine sieve over a container and use a cooking spoon or soft spatula to stir and press the puree through the sieve. Discard any chucks that’s left. Keep refrigerated and use within 3-4 days, or keep in the freezer for 2 months.