A chilled glass of Mojito is a fairly common sight in bars and pubs across the globe. Starting its journey from the South American country of Cuba, it slowly became known and then popular everywhere where there was a thirsty man. And for good reason too.
A perfectly mixed Mojito is not one that overpowers us but rather sweeps us off our feet in a slow yet steady fashion until it gains such control of our senses that we can’t really stay on our bar stools . The humble cocktail, (humble because just one type of alcohol is used as the base), has quite an interesting history. A history that, though debated upon, dates back to the sixteenth century.
It was a time when pirates got knighted for their exploits, literally, on stranger tides and land. Sir Francis Drake, reached South America around 1586 and after a little energy was spent on an unsuccessful attempt to loot the gold in Havana, he and his associates found themselves feeling very thirsty indeed.
Up jumped his second in command Richard Drake and concocted a quencher. He took some sugar, lime and mint and shook them up vigorously with aguardiente – an ancestor of today’s rum. What he got was a refreshing drink which he lovingly christened El Draque, after himself or Sir Farncis, I’m not sure who. In its infancy, it was taken as a medicinal draught which gradually was altered when of the Bacardi Company came in the mid-1800s. Bacardi rum replaced old aguardiente and the drink was reborn as Mojito, to be pronounced ‘mo-HEE-toe’.
Over centuries famous people proclaimed their love for the cocktail. It is believed it was almost impossible to keep the great writer Ernest Hemmingway away from his cherished Mojitos. His favorite watering hole, Sloppy Joes, is the place to go to if you want the most perfectly concocted Mojito in the northern hemisphere. Also The Samba Room in Fort Lauderdale is considered really good at shaking out Mojitos with guarapo – sugarcane juice instead of sugar.
Good news is you can also make a great Mojito at home. You need good quality dark rum, limes for fresh juice, sugar syrup or sugarcane juice, fresh mint leaves, crushed ice and soda water. Put about 10 mint leaves at the bottom of a highball glass and gently crush them with a muddler. Remember we just want the leaves to release their oil. Next add a part each of the sugar syrup and freshly squeezed lime juice. Top that with crushed ice and pour 2 parts of rum over it. Finish with soda water and garnish with a lime wedge and a sprig of mint.
And there you are a true blue magical Mojito, waiting to be slurped up by you.
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