Cuuuuuba! The birthplace of the mojito may have something to do with why we drank at least 100 mojitos while we were in Havana and Vinales this year although they never made us feel drunk. Mix, Muddle, Mix! Be sure to use Havana Club rum. We even enjoyed mango mojitos at O’Reilly 304.
Place 1 teaspoon of sugar into each of two 12 ounce glasses. Squeeze the juice from a lime wedge into each glass, drop in the wedge, and add 2 sprigs or more of mint. Use a spoon or muddler to mash the sugar, lime juice, and mint together in the bottom of the glasses. Fill each glass about half full with crushed ice. Pour 1/4 cup rum into each glass. Fill the glasses with club soda, stir, and garnish with additional lime wedges.
The mojito has thought to have originated from covering up the flavor of crude spirits or cheaply made rum, so of course the other ingredients were there to mask the taste. Apparently, the mint may have helped relieve nausea and the lime prevented scurvy. In 1585, the Queen of England may have sent Sir Francis Drake to the Caribbean to invade the Spanish colonies and the boats likely carried these ingredients. Today, versions of ‘El Draque’ like the Mojito exist throughout Latin America.
The cheap combination of mint, sugar, lime and rum eventually caught on with Cuba’s rural farm workers, then swept through Havana’s bars where Americans visiting the island during Prohibition first tried it. It’s believed that they then added ice and soda water to appeal more to their palates. However, this is all theory. “Mojo is the word Cubans use for a sour citrus sauce. It could come from that. Or maybe it’s from mojado, the Spanish word for wet.