This Cuban drink is currently experiencing its second wind among the cocktail elite, with good reason. It’s tart, refreshing and nice to look at with the muddled mint swirling around the glass.
A Mojito is basically lime, mint and rum topped by club soda or sparkling water. In order to release the oils in the mint, a muddler (kinda like a cross between a pestle and a meat mallet) is used to bruise and break up the leaves without destroying their delicacy. (While the back of a wooden spoon can also be used, an actual muddler isn’t very expensive and can also be used to muddle fruits for sangria, lemonades and other beverages.)
While a good start, sugar (or sugar syrup) is also added in the muddling stage (pre-rum). There seems to be a bit of division between what is best: sugar or syrup. Anyone whose grown up ordering iced tea in restaurants where only unsweetened is available knows full well that regular sugar does not dissolve easily in cold liquids. It may give the muddler more purchase on the mint leaves and seem like the best course of action, you’re just not going to get much sweetening from it. Even knowing this, I still tried recipes using both sugar and sugar syrup and found my hunch to be correct. Leave the sugar for rimming the glass and use a 1:1 simple syrup in your drink.
Even with the syrup, a classic Mojito is much more tart than sweet and I prefer my drinks both tart AND sweet. While in Orlando last year, the Ale House near my brother’s apartment was serving Pineapple Mojitos and it was a divine drink. Tart and sweet and very drinkable. Of course, when the Mojito came up on my list, I knew I needed to recreate that yummy version at home.
CHF Pineapple Mojito
1/4 of a Lime, lengthwise
1 oz Simple syrup
5-7 Mint leaves
2 oz Pineapple rum
In a medium glass with a heavy base, place the lime, simple syrup and mint leaves and muddle until the lime is juiced and the mint is a little broken up. Fill with ice and then top with the rum and juice. Stir and sip in contented tropical bliss.
I’m not really a big fan of club soda–to me it tastes like stale water and why would I want to drink that? Consequently, it’s left out of my version of the Mojito. If you wanted to thin it out a bit, a la the classic drink, use about an ounce of pineapple juice and then fill with club soda or sparkling water.
When making Mojitos for a crowd, Stirrings makes a tasty mixer version that just needs rum and club soda. I’ve been known to use tonic water instead of club soda and find even just the mix and the tonic water make a very fresh drink on their own, no rum required.