The famous Mojito cocktail is a highball drink of Cuban origins. The term “highball” refers to any mixed drink that uses an alcoholic base spirit and a larger quantity of a non-alcoholic beverage. For Mojito, the main ingredient is white rum, which is then mixed with sugar, lime juice, sparkling water and mint. Traditionally, Cubans used sugar cane juice to sweeten the drink, and instead of mint they would put spearmint or yerba buena, local varieties of mint. This cocktail is also popular because it has a low content of alcohol, and the freshness of the mint and lime make it perfect for warm summers.
Most cocktails have mysterious origins, and the Mojito cocktail is no exception. While we know it originated in Cuba, we have little knowledge of who created it. Most accounts seem to point to the fact that it was invented sometime during the 19th century. As for the name itself, there is reason to believe it was derived from the Spanish mojadito which means “a little wet”, or from mojo, a Cuban seasoning made from lime.
The ingredients and quantities that are generally used to make the Mojito cocktail are 60 milliliters of white rum, 30 milliliters of fresh lime juice, six leaves of mint, two teaspoons of sugar and soda water. In order to prepare it, the bartender needs a muddler, which is a tool that helps crush and mash various ingredients. Furthermore, the Mojito is served in a Collins glass, which is a normal glass tumbler of cylindrical shape, but narrower than the highball glass. The first thing you have to do when preparing a Mojito cocktail is to add the sugar and mint in the glass, then mash them gently with the muddler.
It is important not to ruin the mint leaves, but rather crush them enough to release their flavor and juices into the sugar. The rum can be added afterwards, and stirred until the sugar is dissolved and the mint leaves float. Ice cubes and sparkling water are added last, and stirred once more for taste uniformity. The glass can be garnished with a few mint leaves and a slice of lime, and the Mojito is served with a straw. There are also many variations of the Mojito, some of which use apple-flavored liqueur, others which are completely non-alcoholic and thus perfect to replace orange juice or lemonade during hot summer afternoons.