In this month’s edition of the Mixologist’s guide we take a trip to Havana, the city responsible for creating the Mojito, the drink that has come to dominate the summer cocktail scene the world over.
The drink owes much of its popularity to American writer Ernest Hemingway, a gentleman who knew a few things about the art of the cocktail. Hemingway famously wrote “All things truly wicked start from innocence”: a very appropriate quote given the origins of the modern day Mojito. The drink can trace its lineage all the way back to a 16th Century tipple known as “El Draque,” which was named after the famous English sea captain and privateer Sir Francis Drake. Legend has it that after his successful raid at Cartagena de Indias, Drake’s ships sailed towards Havana but with an epidemic of dysentery and scurvy on board. A small boarding party went ashore on Cuba to find a remedy and came back with ingredients for a medicine which proved not only incrediblly effective, but also rather delicious. The ingredients were aguardiente de caña (a crude form of rum), lime, sugarcane juice, and mint.
Since those days the recipe has become rather more refined, but the unmistakeable Caribbean flavor remains as deliciously refreshing as ever—and as likely to lead towards a bit of summer wickedness.
Place the lime wedges, mint, and sugar into a sturdy highball glass and “muddle” with the end of a clean rolling pin to bruise the mint and release the lime juice. Add a handful of crushed ice and pour over the rum. We’d recommend Havana Club Añejo 3 años for that truly authentic Cuban taste. Add soda water to taste and stir well. Garnish with a mint sprig and serve.
– 2 shots of Havana Club Añejo 3 años
– 4 wedges of fresh lime
– 1 tsp granulated sugar
– Splash of soda water