I went to see The Rum Diary, the latest Johnny Depp film, the other night. I didn’t think an awful lot of the film – you can read my review here – but on a bleak Scottish winter’s night it reminded me of the Caribbean sunshine and my favourite rum cocktail: the Mojito.
There are three main Cuban rum cocktails: the Cuba Libre (basically a rum and coke with a big squeeze of lime); Hemingway’s alleged favourite, the Daiquiri (like a fruity, alcoholic slush puppy) and the Mojito, which is by far the most refreshing. It’s made with white rum (ideally Havana Club 3 Años in my humble opinion), fresh lime juice, soda water and fresh mint. The name allegedly comes from ‘mojo’ (pron: moho), a kind of lime seasoning for food. Hence ‘mojito’ contains a wee bit of mojo.
On more than one occasion I have felt the need to teach British barmen the true way of the Mojito. It’s made with ice cubes, not crushed ice. And mint sprigs, not just the leaves. A mojitois light and refreshing, it looks damn classy, and it’s not as hard to make at home as you might think, so I thought I’d share my favourite rum recipe.
Use a sturdy, preferably straight-sided glass.
- 2 teaspoons of caster sugar
- juice of half a lime (approx. 2 tablespoons’ worth)
- 2 mint sprigs
- 2 parts of sparkling water (approx. 9cl)
- 1 part white rum (4.5cl – about 1.5 times a standard pub measure)
- 4 ice cubes
Put the sugar, lime juice, 2 mint sprigs (whole) in the glass and give it a good bashing. You can chop the squeezed half lime and throw it in if you like. (“Waste not, want not” is the national anthem of Cuba). Use a muddler if you have one, otherwise the end of a rolling pin does the trick. Add the water and the ice and muddle or stir again. Pour the rum in over the top. If you want to show off, garnish with lime or mint (or save them to make your next cocktail!)
Adjust the quantities until you get the perfect mojito. Having said all that, in Cuba a mojito comes in whatever glass is to hand. And on days of lime shortage I’ve even had it made with Sprite ™ (wot trade blockade?), which I wouldn’t recommend!
And don’t forget – in Cuba it’s always Ron o’clock! But please drink responsibly 😉