The Mojito is a rum drink… a Cuban cocktail that originated in Havana in the late 1800s. It gained popularity beginning in the 1930s as Americans were drawn to the Caribbean lifestyle. This is my favorite drink of all… not only for it’s wonderfully refreshing taste which results from the perfect balance of it’s sweet and sour ingredients but because of it’s fascinating history as well.

The Mojito even has a predecessor dating back to the time when pirates ran the Caribbean. Historians have found that the pirate Richard Drake regularly mixed up a rum drink of his own making by combining unrefined rum, sugar, lime, and mint. He named the drink “El Draque” (“the dragon”), the same as the the nickname of Sir Francis Drake. This cocktail certainly served as the influence for the Mojito as Drake frequented Cuba. As the pirate days ended, the Draque became a popular rum drink among the Cuban working-class.

Also popular with Cubans and many other Latin-American countries was guarapo… basically a sugar cane juice or simple syrup that was served with ice as a refreshing drink. Guarapo, when distilled, becomes rum. Over time marriage of guarapa (or simple syrup) added to rum instead of pure sugar was only natural. Add in the lime and mint and you have the staple Mojito ingredients. Some even thought the cocktail to have medicinal benefit as the mojito ingredients on their own were often the same ingredients of other concoctions consumed for medicinal purposes. This is probably how a more authentic but less common mojito ingredient (Angostura Bitters) came to be part of the Mojito recipe as well.

Certain parts of America came to enjoy the Mojito early on due to the proximity of Key West and American’s fascination with Cuban cigars and the influence of Ernest Hemingway. Sloppy Joe’s, opened by a friend of Hemingway’s, started serving mojitos in the 1930’s. The Cuban population in Miami made sure the Mojito was commonplace in South Florida.

Until Hurricane Andrew, the Mojito was almost a well kept secret to only the Floribbean region of the world as well as to those who sought the tropical lifestyle of the area. After Andrew, South Beach saw an amazing re-growth and a renewed, world-wide recognition as one of the trendiest destinations in the world of which the Mojito is somewhat of an icon. The Mojito is now known and enjoyed by more people than ever. With it’s popularity has come several variations on the recipe and there’s a good chance you’ve had a “mojito” but you haven’t had a true Mojito. While there are a few variations of the authentic recipe, we feel this one is the best as it is true to this fine cocktail’s culture and history. So, accept no substitutes and enjoy!

Here’s how to make a Mojito: Mojito Ingredients: 3 quarters of lime 2 oz simple syrup 3–4 oz lite rum (we recommend Havana Club Rum) 6–11 mint leaves (according to taste) 5 drops Bitters Club Soda (part of the tradition, but optional)

Mojito Preparation: Squeeze juice from 3 quarters of lime into tall glass. Set the squeezed lime wedges to the side. Throw in 11 mint leaves and use a muddler to release mint oil. Add squeezed lime wedges and remaining ingredients. Fill glass with ice cubes. Shake with cocktail shaker then top with a splash of club soda if desired and serve… just a splash though!!! For taller glasses, don’t be tempted to top off your glass with the club soda as it will water down the taste. Double the main ingredients instead!

Here’s how to make a Mojito Pitcher: Mojito Pitcher Ingredients: 3 whole limes 8 oz simple syrup 12–16 oz lite rum (we recommend Havana Club Rum) 24–48 mint leaves (according to taste) 20 drops Bitters Club Soda (part of the tradition, but optional)

Mojito Pitcher Preparation: Squeeze juice from 3 whole limes into a pitcher. Set the squeezed lime wedges to the side. Throw up to 48 mint leaves and use a muddler to release mint oil. Add squeezed lime wedges and remaining ingredients. Fill pitcher with ice cubes. Stir vigorously and then top with a splash of club soda if desired and serve. Double the rum if you like it strong!

Here’s some things that will help you make a great Mojito:

Here’s some great ways to serve your Mojito:

The Cuba Libre is a simple yet refreshing and elegant cocktail. It’s basically a rum and coke but with just a little something more to give it that extra balance and hint of something exotic… lime juice. For the secret touch of The Tiki Bar Is Open that will make your Cuba Libre better than anyone else’s… add some Angastora Bitters.

Not to be outdone by other great cocktails, the Cuba Libre’s past has some mystery to it and accounts of it’s inception vary. What all stories seem to have in common is that the drink dates back to around 1900. As the name implies, it’s a Cuban cocktail but probably has some American influence (that would be the cola). 1900 is when Coca-Cola became available in Cuba. However, “Cuba Libre!” was the battle cry of the Cuba Liberation Army during the war of independence that ended in 1878. So, before cola it is likely the drink was originally made with cola nuts and coca before it was popularized (and much easier to make) with cola.
As Tiki Pop Culture grew in the US, so did the drink’s popularity. In 1945 The Andrews Sisters recorded a song named after the drink’s ingredients, “Rum and Coca-Cola.” Cola and rum were both cheap at the time too so this probably also contributed to the concoction’s popularity. It remains one of the most popular American drinks today.

Juice of 1/4 lemon wedge
3oz light rum (as always… I recommend Havana Club light rum but have found Seven Tiki Spiced rum makes a nice drink as well. Pick your poison!)
6oz Cola (regular Coke or Coke Zero recommended)
5 drops Angastora Bitters

Place two or three ice cubes in a tall glass.
Add rum
Add cola (important to add second so carbonation helps mix drink)
Squeeze in juice from lemon wedge
Add 5 drops of bitter
Stir lightly and garnish with a slice or two of lime.

The Zombie is an exceptionally strong cocktail made of fruit juices, liqueurs, and various rums, so named for its perceived effects upon the drinker. It first appeared in the late 1930s, invented by Donn Beach (formerly Ernest Raymond Beaumont-Gannt) of Hollywood’s Don the Beachcomber restaurant. It was popularized soon afterwards at the 1939 New York World’s Fair.

Beach concocted it one afternoon for a hung-over friend who had dropped by his restaurant before flying to San Francisco for an important business trip. The friend left after having consumed three of them. He returned several days later only to complain of how he felt during the trip. “I felt like the living dead”, he proclaimed. Hence the name Zombie and, by the way, the friends tip proved to be a successful one.

Zombies have a smooth, fruity taste that works to conceal its extremely high alcoholic content. For many years the Don the Beachcomber restaurants limited their customers to two Zombies apiece. According the original recipe, there are the equivalent of 7.5 ounces (2.2 dl) of alcohol in a single Zombie; this is the same as drinking three and a half cocktails made with a fairly generous 2 ounces (0.6 dl) of alcohol per drink. The restaurant limit of two Zombies, therefore, would be the equivalent of 7 regular cocktails such as a Manhattan or Scotch on the rocks.

Ingredients: 1oz lime juice
1oz lemon juice
1oz pineapple juice
1oz passion fruit syrup
1tsp brown sugar
1 dash Angostura bitters
1oz gold Puerto Rican rum
1oz 151 proof Demerara rum
1oz light Puerto Rican rum

Preparation: Mix ingredients other than the 151 in a shaker with ice. Pour into glass and top with the high-proof rum. Note: if you cannot find passion fruit syrup, you can make your own by boiling equal parts passion fruit and sugar into a syrup.