For a refreshing summer cocktail that you can enjoy year-round, learn how to mix up a Mojito and simple syrup. Like many cocktails, the history of the Mojito (pronounced moe-HEE-toh) is as muddled as the drink itself.
This cocktail originated in Cuba, and some say it was inspired by a drink from the 16th century called "El Draque". El Draque was named in honor of the English pirate, Sir Francis Drake. Others believe that African slaves who worked in Cuban sugarcane fields created the Mojito. The Mojito was a favorite of renowned writer Ernest Hemingway. It has surged in popularity in recent years, and has become a staple at trendy restaurants and bars.
How to Make a Mojito and Simple Syrup
While you can purchase pre-made Mojito mixes, nothing beats a hand-crafted cocktail. Mojitos contain six main ingredients:
- White rum
- Simple syrup
- Sparkling water or club soda
- Spearmint leaves
You can easily make your own simple syrup by mixing a one-to-one ratio of sugar and water in a saucepan. People on a restricted sugar diet can use Splenda or another sugar substitute. Bring the solution to boil, and then drop it to a simmer and stir occasionally. Let the liquid cool and preserve it in a refrigerated, airtight container.
Once you've made your simple syrup, you're ready to make a Mojito. Place about ten fresh spearmint leaves in the bottom of a highballl glass along with a sliced lime. Using a muddler or the back of a spoon, gently crush the leaves. Add two tablespoons of simple syrup. Next, fill the glass with ice. Crushed ice cools the cocktail faster than cubed.
Pour in an ounce or two of rum - depending on how strong you like your drink - and then top it off with a splash of club soda. Give your Mojito a quick stir, and garnish it with a lime wedge and a couple of mint sprigs. If you cringe at the idea of sipping up bits of mint, strain the cocktail before serving it.
The Sugar Debate
Simple syrup is a convenient mixer, but some aficionados argue that you should make your Mojitos using either superfine or powdered sugar. Sugar crystals can help with the muddling process, and powdered sugar dissolves quickly; this eliminates the need to use the stove. Experiment a little to find your favorite recipe.
Variations on the Mojito
Try these variations on the traditional Mojito:
- Add Angostura bitters to reduce the sweetness.
- Use fruit-flavored rums, such as mango or strawberry.
- Muddle blueberries with the mint for a refreshing twist.
- Make the drink with vodka instead of rum.
- Substitute champagne for the rum for a party pleaser.
- Use spiced rum and brown sugar syrup for a "Dirty Mojito".
- Stir in pomegranate juice for a trendy take.
Tools of the Trade
Muddlers (which are used to bruise the spearmint leaves so that they release their essential oils) and highball glasses (which are tall, narrow glasses also referred to as Collins glasses), may not already be a part of your barware collection. Here are some items you can purchase online:
Now that you know how to make a traditional Mojito and simple syrup, as well as a few fun variations, why not throw a fabulous cocktail party?