Musings on the Mojito

Posted by TraderTiki on August 7th, 2008 — Posted in Rum, Tools

Hemingway Sign

When the sun sits high on your sweat mopped brow, there’s just nothing as refreshing as a Mojito.

I can still remember my first Mojito, mixed by Martin some 10 billion years ago, during a garage sale (of dubious regard) in Petaluma, CA.  The sun was blazing, the sky was crystal clear, and a large crowd surrounded us, asking questions about coffee pots, tea cups, and whether or not the Girls Gone Wild collection was really for sale (It was, but we kept the one with Snoop Dogg).  Thank goodness for the Mojitos though, for getting us through that rough day of sitting in lawn chairs, talking to (other) weirdos.

The word crisp comes foremost to mind when I think of a Mojito, as for me it has a certain bite, that quenches even more powerfully than a PBR Tallboy after a long summer lawn-mowing session.  The Mint, Lime, Rum, and effervescent charged water refresh and rejuvenate. One of the best ingredients for a Mojito is a day over 80 degrees.

La Bodeguita del Medio The Mojito has its origins, as so many decent drinks do, in the hands of the workers, mixing whatever herbs and juices they could find to make their rum portions a bit more palatable.  The Mojito was made most famous at La Bodeguita del Medio, a Hemingway hotspot, which quoted the man as stating “My Mojito in La Bodeguita, My Daiquiri in El Floridita“, on a sign above the bar with his signature.  The Mojito had a bit of a time in the 40s, with even Trader Vic reportedly offering one on the menu.  It then died out for awhile, as trends do come and go, but came back big with its re-introduction in the James Bond film “Die Another Day” in 2003 (he tells the bartender “Mojito, por favor”, before suggesting a bikini-clad Halle Berry try one… so there may be a positive association there).  With the Mojitos return, bartenders also found a great excuse to bring out that wicked tool, the Muddler, paving the way for its Brazilian relative, the Caiprinha, to come back in style as well.  The Old-fashioned never really left, but making it proper… that’s a post for another time.

Recently, after the 10 cane 10k I was served what could have been a decent Mojito that the bartender, in my opinion, absolutely RUINED with the addition of Triple Sec.  Instead of refreshing it was an overly-fruity mess.  I’m sure the wax cup didn’t help.  The original needs no help.

Unlike Mr. Hemingway, I like my Mojito’s best homemade, when the weather is hot (as it is now) and the mint is fresh from the garden.  I’m sure I’ve got a few areas for debate here, but this is how I like ‘em.



  • 2 oz Light Rum (Don Q)
  • 1/2 oz Simple Syrup
  • 1/2 oz Lime
  • 8-10 mint leaves (Spearmint)
  • Charged Water

Place the Mint and a quick spritz of charged water into the bottom of a tall glass.  Take your nearest muddler in hand and gently muddle the mint to release the oils (not making chopped salad here).  Add Sugar and Rum, fill the glass with Crushed Ice, top with Charged Water and Stir or Swizzle until the mint leaves are pressed pleasingly against the glass.  Serve with Straw.

Light, refreshing… your mouth should instinctively “aaah” with each sip.  It can be an effort to find decent mint (unless you grow your own… highly recommended), and its rising popularity has caused many a bartender to curse into their sleeve garter, but this is drink is so very worth doing right.

10 Cane Mojito Kit Representatives of 10 Cane Rum recently informed me (and provided a sample for review, thank you kindly), that they have released a Mojito Kit, featuring 10 Cane Rum and Stirrings Mojito Mix.   For the sake of science, I tried the 10 Cane in both the traditional, and with the Stirrings product.
The 10 Cane makes for a damned fine Mojito.  Initially skeptical due to its major differences from traditional Cuban Light Rum, I found the 10 Cane Rum very pleasing and not overwhelming.  It just added a few subtle citrus and floral notes to the mix that worked very well.

The Stirrings premade… well, what to say.  I’m the guy who yells at the mixer aisle in the grocery store, and there are a lot of reasons to yell.  Stirrings generally has a higher end product than, say, Finest Call, but I’m not going to be replacing the use of fresh mint and lime any time soon.  The mint flavor is a bit too Lifesavers WinterGreen for me, and the lime used is Key Lime, which has a lot more tartness and sweetness than I like in my limes.  Though it works fine as a mint-lime soda.  Splash a little into some soda water for a daytime “I’m still at work no booze just yet” refresher.

10 Cane and Stirrings Mojito

Of course, everyone has got their own way of doing things with this drink.  So long as it isn’t miles off of the original recipe (Myers, really?), I’m always game to try the local specialty.  For more comments and rebuttals on the Mojito than you can shake your muddler at, check out Jeff’s Mojito Dos and Donts post.

Got a favorite mint to use? Just want to show off a picture of your wicked new Cabana Cachaça muddler?  Post it in the comments!

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Comment by Gabriel

Nice post, Blair. I’m a complete heathen when it comes to the Mojito. I’ll do a post someday but I’ll give example by saying that I use a tbs. of sugar and macerate the mint leaves in it before adding any liquid ingredients.

It’s delicious, but not for everyone. About every 5th person that tries my version makes a ‘Dear God! what the hell?!’ face. The other four ask for seconds, and thirds, and…

Too bad about the Stirrings product. They tend to either be direct hit or total miss.

Posted on August 7, 2008 at 8:38 am

Comment by Rick

DonQ… really?

Posted on August 7, 2008 at 12:39 pm

Comment by Dood

Hurray for my favorite summer cocktail! If you can get your hands on it, try making a mo’ with Oronoco from Brazil. True, it is nowhere near a Cuban-style white rum, but it’s one of the few white rums on the market that is truly sippable on its own, and makes a wonderful mojito.

I’m also a fan of going with “midnight” mojitos using darker rums from time to time. Try one with Appleton Estate V/X some time (although you need to adjust the sugar/lime amounts a bit).

Posted on August 7, 2008 at 1:57 pm

Comment by MrBaliHai

I made a Mojito Criollo a while back, which adds a bit of lemon rind to the classic recipe. I also used a lovely Agricole Blanc for the rum, which gave it a very earthy taste, not unlike a Caipirinha.

Posted on August 7, 2008 at 2:26 pm

Comment by MrBaliHai

And btw, I don’t care what anyone says, I think 10 Cane is a damn fine product. It really fits the bill when I’m looking for something that’s somewhere in-between a traditional white rum and Cachaça.

Posted on August 7, 2008 at 2:54 pm

Comment by Heather

I still have all those damned GGW dvds, too. I guess I know what you’re all getting for Xmas.

I want a mojito with no leaves in my teeth.

Posted on August 8, 2008 at 6:00 pm

Comment by TraderTiki

Gabriel, thanks! I was considering that was well, but I tend to lean towards just using simple. Despite concerns of overwatering and… ramble ramble ramble.

Rick… yeah, really Don Q. I wanted a light rum without a lot of interference, and not Bacardi’s… well, not Bacardi. My Puerto Rican friends love it, though I do tend towards Cruzan for most applications (or Flor de Cana if I feel like treating myself).

Dood, all the bottles just went off the shelf at Pearl Specialty. I’ll have to ask next time.

Mr. Bali Hai, that sounds damned nice. and I concur with 10 cane being a nice in-between product. I have a hard time categorizing it. Maybe as R(h)um.

Heather, don’t spoil my present! As far as the no leaves, next one for you (what, 13 months now?) will be strained, through a tree.

Posted on August 10, 2008 at 9:38 pm

Comment by Some lush

Skip the mint.
Find some fresh pineapple sage.

Posted on August 13, 2008 at 10:24 pm

Comment by RC

Hi Trader,
Great article! We plugged it on today. Keep up the good work.


Posted on November 11, 2008 at 9:01 am

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