Mojitos make the most of an abundance of fresh mint from the garden.
If you ask me what my favorite cocktail is to sip while laying in the hammock or slowly rocking back and forth on the porch on a hot summer day, my answer would have to be the Mojito.

It's my go-to cocktail in the summer when we have tons of fresh mint growing wild everywhere. Cool and refreshing, Mojitos go down really easily on a hot day! 

The ingredients are all pretty commonplace, but definitely illustrate the definition of the whole being greater than the sum of all parts.

The History of the Mojito 

The minty Mojito traces its roots back several hundred years to the island of Cuba and was a favorite of Ernest Hemingway who lived there for much of his life. 

Originally called El Draque, possibly named after Sir Francis Drake, who attacked Cuba in the 1500s's, Mojitos were originally used medicinally as a treatment for various digestive issues, cholera and, of course, scurvy. 

Soon Cuban field workers started mixing up the concoction and its popularity grew.

Using ingredients native to Cuba, the combination of white rum, lime juice, fresh mint and sugar water quickly became popular in bars in and around Havana during the Prohibition and ultimately made its way to the United States.  

The name Mojito possibly came about as a derivation of "mojadito" which means "a little wet" in Spanish, or from "mojo" which is a Cuban word for sour citrus sauce.

Mojitos in the Movies

Pierce Brosnan's James Bond calmly sipped a Mojito (muddled, not stirred!) in Die Another Day out in theaters in 2002 and is widely credited with giving the minty cocktail a nice resurgence as a new generation of revelers discovered the deliciously sweet, refreshing summer cocktail.

Unfortunately, Mojitos aren't always widely available at bars because unless they stock fresh mint, the bartender can't make you one, so learning how to make your own at home is a good idea.

What's in a Mojito? 


The key to a great Mojito is, of course, fresh mint. 

Since I grow mint, mostly to try and keep mice out of our chicken coop and run, I always have plenty spreading like crazy all summer long, and a batch of Mojitos are a great way to use some of it.

Spearmint or peppermint both work well in a mojito, or you can even get creative with orange or chocolate mint.

(As an aside, if you are drowning in mint, my mint chip ice cream is also delicious!)

The mint gets "muddled" or mashed in the shaker to release the wonderful essential oils and minty flavor. 

If you don't have a muddler, you can rip the leaves and rub them with your fingers before adding them to the shaker.

Simple Syrup

Simple syrup is equal parts granulated sugar and water heated and stirred just until the sugar dissolves, then cooled to room temperature. 

It's used in lots of cocktails as a sweetener, so I usually make up a cup or two at a time. 

Any excess can be stored in the refrigerator for 2 to 4 weeks and should be discarded when it turns cloudy.

As an alternative, you can use agave syrup.

White Rum

To maintain the clear-ish appearance of the cocktail, and really let the bright green mint and lime slices shine, you'll need to use white rum in your Mojitos.

Lime Juice

Limes are the other key to a good mojito. I buy bags of limes (and lemons) when they're on sale, cut them in half and freeze them, so I can just defrost and juice them as needed.  

Saves me money and ensures I always have fresh squeezed lime juice on hand for cocktails and baking.

Sparkling Water

You can use any type of club soda or sparkling water in your Mojitos, but lately I'm obsessed with Betty Buzz sodas, and the Betty Buzz Lemon Lime soda works really well in this recipe (not sponsored, I just really love Blake Lively's soda line!)

Minty Mojito Cocktail Recipe

Makes 1 cocktail

2 or 3 springs fresh mint, plus more for garnish
1 ounce simple syrup
2 ounces white rum
One lime, juiced, plus several slices for garnish if desired
Club soda or Betty Buzz Lemon Lime soda

In a cocktail shaker, muddle the mint and simple syrup.  Add the rum, lime juice and some ice and shake until chilled. 

Pour into a tall glass or mason jar over ice. Top with the soda.  Garnish with a fresh mint leaf and a couple of lime slices.

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