Mojito DetailThere’s more than one recipe for the Mojito. We even posted a different one a while back to accompany a fine article about simple syrup. It’s a refreshing summer drink and a great way to hide some rum inside a few mint leaves, lime and sugar. So, we figured it was about time to featured it as the Drink of the Week.

It’s not our favorite cocktail, but a lot of people love it, and why wouldn’t they? Rum, sugar, lime, mint—what’s not to love? You could consider the Mojito a cross between a Julep and a Daiquiri, but by that logic, every cocktail is just a combination of something else. We were going to get into some of the historic details about this Cuban classic, but we decided plenty has been written about that elsewhere. So, let’s focus on the drink’s construction and some of the techniques you use when you make it properly.

MojitoClassic Mojito
2 oz white rum
.5 oz lime juice
1 tsp. superfine sugar
3-5 mint leaves
club soda to top

Build the Mojito in a tall glass. Add the lime juice and the sugar. Muddle the sugar so it dissolves. Add the mint leaves and gently press them against the inside of the glass with your muddler to release the oils. Fill the glass with cracked ice. Add the rum and top with club soda.

The Mojito is usually constructed as a “built” drink, meaning that you make it directly in the glass in which it is served. A tall glass is traditional, but it helps if your slender glass is somewhat petite. A smaller Collins is a fine choice. The problem with a glass that is too large is that your club soda will over-dilute the drink when you try to bring it to the rim. You can actually use whatever glass you have available as long as you are aware of the water you are adding at the end. We found this gorgeous antique goblet with a lovely etched floral pattern and realized it was perfect for this, or for fizzes and sours. The thin walls only took a moment to chill (something to think about for built cocktails) and the footed design lets you hold it by the stem keeping your hot hands away from the bowl.

Once you are confident with the glass you are going to use, you can start the assembly process. Don’t go leaping for the ice just yet. You want to dissolve your sugar first, and since sugar doesn’t readily mix with alcohol, you will need to use the lime juice and your muddler to get the process started. A shortcut would be to just use simple syrup. That’s fine, just make sure you adjust your sweet and sour ratio to suit your own taste depending on the strength of your simple syrup.

Next, add your mint leaves. You really don’t need that many. Rub a few leaves against the inside of the glass with your muddler. Don’t overdo it. Mint will taste bitter if you work it too hard, so don’t try to crush it into little bits. With the sour mixture established and the mint ready to go, you are almost done. Now you can add your ice. we like to use cracked ice. The broken pieces cool the drink faster, and because this cocktail is not shaken, the faster dilution of smaller ice will cut the burn from the rum. Pour the rum over the ice, then top up with soda adding no more than a couple of ounces. Give it a stir to incorporate the sweet, sour and bubbles. If you wish, you can add a sprig of mint for a garnish. You can also drop in the half shell from your squeezed lime if you have room.

As simple as it is to build the Mojito, there are plenty of wrong ways to do it. For instance, some people think the muddler is supposed to be used over the ice. They will throw everything into a glass and try to mash it all up right through the ice chunks. If that’s how you learned to make a Mojito (or any muddled cocktail), you are doing it wrong. The muddler is not to be used through ice. Use it directly on the sugar, or the mint, or whatever needs to be muddled. Ice will only get in the way and decrease the tool’s effectiveness.

Another mistake people commit is abusing the mint. Don’t do it. It’s tempting, especially if you enjoy the Gin Basil Smash, to really get in there and grind away at those leaves. Extracting the flavor and color from basil is one thing, but mint will become bitter if you go at it too strongly. Gently rubbing the leaves or even just tearing them is enough handling to release the flavor.

You can’t make a good Mojito without fresh lime juice. It has been a while since we have pushed this issue, but come on, are you really going to make one of these with Rose’s or some other bottled substitute? For heaven’s sake, don’t use a sour mix. Of course, you could choose to add a few items. We have heard muddling some chunks of watermelon can bring wonderful results. While you’re at it, why not try cherries, blackberries or strawberries? The variations you can create by just dropping in a few pieces of fruit are endless. And if you can add fruit, you might as well float some dark rum on top, or better yet some overproof Demerara. Come to think of it, we do like the Mojito after all.


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James R. Coplin
James R. Coplin

After 3 years my peppermint plant is finally large enough to use for drinks. I’ve been enjoying peppermint mojitos all week and they really are a different drink over the typical spearmint. I’ve found that Matusalem silver really works great for Mojitos. Bacardi has no flavor and Appleton silver is just a little too toothy (bit I use that when I want a more agressive Mojito).


Interesting. A peppermint Mojito sounds like combination I’d like to try. Do you feel it’s the peppermint that affects your decision about the rum or do you prefer Matusalem even with spearmint? Is that all you are using the peppermint for?

James R. Coplin
James R. Coplin

Matsalem is my go-to silver whenever anything calls for Bacardi (which I loathe). Their amber and anejo are well worth drinking as well. So far, all I have used the peppermint for is Mojitos but I dream of a day when there is enough to make a batch of syrup for Julips. I live 3 blocks from France/44 so drop by for a peppermint Mojito next time you are in my neck of the woods.


If you have enough peppermint for a Mojito you should have enough to make a julep. I only ever batch mint syrup if I’m hosting a julep party on Derby Day. In other words, don’t wait! Make a peppermint julep and tell me what you think. Of course, that begs the question: what whiskey? You could also use cognac. Oh, wait. How about a combination of bourbon (or rye), brandy, demerara syrup and float a little blackstrap.

James R. Coplin
James R. Coplin

Hah! I was a Southerner before I was a Minnesotan. In this house there is *always* julip juice on hand between the snows. I should try a single though just to give it a spin. I like to use Knob Creek, Elijah Craig, or Booker’s in mine.I’m not sure how I feel about brandy in my julip – how much you think and in what proportion to the bourbon? It might work better with rye in that case instead of bourbon as I tend to like my bourbons strong.


Well, the julep was historically a brandy drink before it evolved to whiskey. Cognac, peach brandy, and Jamaican rum float was pretty normal. I was imagining a spirit combo akin to a Vieux Carré or the Saratoga cocktail. No vermouth, obviousy, but the peppermint, some rich syrup and a that rum float and it could get pretty interesting. I guess I’d go with equal parts rye and cognac at first and adjust from there. Hell, instead of writing about it I should just make this drink myself! Perhaps tomorrow since I am already in bed. Mine will use Kentucky Colonel’s… Read more »