Cocktail Series : The Mojito
The Mojito dates back to the late 1500s in one form or another and is considered to be the oldest known cocktail. The Mojito was a medicinal drink originally from Cuba used for it's ability to curb disease.
Local South American Indians were known to have remedies for many diseases. Scurvy and dysentery were rampant on Sir Francis Drake’s ship, or so some say, and a small party went ashore to Cuba. They returned to the ship with ingredients for a medicine. They used aguardiente, which literally means “firewater,” mint leaves, and the juices from sugar cane and limes to make a tonic which turned out to be effective.

In Cuba the word “mojito” means “little wet.” This “little wet” drink is the perfect refreshing summertime beverage, either with or without the Rum. The Mojito was a favorite of Hemingway who lived near Cuba from 1939 to 1960. With the Cuban revolution in 1959, tourism languished on the island. The Mojito was revitalized in the 1980’s with such movies as “Scarface” and the popular television series, “Miami Vice.” Hollywood continues to cast popular characters enjoying Mojitos such as James Bond in the 2002 film “Die Another Day” with Halle Berry.

You, too, can take a step back into history with this refreshing cocktail. Here’s all you need to know.


1 1/2 ounces white rum

¾ oz Simple syrup (recipe follows or simple syrup can be purchased)

6 to 8 fresh mint leaves

1 lime

Mint sprig and lime for garnish


1 ½ oz Club soda, optional


First muddle the mint in the bottom of a cocktail shaker until mint becomes aromatic. Don’t pulverize or crush the mint, just release its fragrant oils.

Squeeze the lime into the muddled mint leaves adding the simple syrup and rum. Shake vigorously until everything is well combined and then shake again. Using a strainer, pour into a glass filled with ice and top with club soda if you so choose.

Taste and adjust. If you want a tarter Mojito add more lime juice. For a sweeter drink add more simple syrup. Garnish with a lime wedge and a mint sprig.

Simple Syrup Recipe

In a small saucepan add equal parts of water and sugar. Adjust quantities as you need.

1 cup sugar
1 cup water

Simmer equal parts of granulated sugar and water in a saucepan over low heat for 1–2 minutes. Do not bring to a boil. Stir gently and simmer for another 1–2 minutes or until the syrup is translucent. Keep stirring. Heat will melt the sugar so be sure all the granules have melted. Remove from heat and let cool. Funnel the syrup into a glass bottle or jar, cover tightly and shake well. Refrigerate for up to 2 weeks.

Simple syrup can also be used to make Lemonade, Limeade or added to iced tea as well as used in classic cocktails such as Daiquiris and Hurricanes.

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