The mojito has five basic ingredients: rum, mint leaves, sugar, lime (and its juice), and soda water. And ice, of course, so you can enjoy it really, really cold. Mojito, after all, is meant to be a summer drink — something to counter the blistering tropical heat.
Unlike most cocktail drinks that merely require mixing, stirring or shaking, the secret to a good mojito is in the muddling which means slowly bruising (not mashing to a pulp) the lime, mint leaves and sugar at the bottom of a glass so that essential oils are released.
And I can’t emphasize the muddling enough because mojito just doesn’t taste right unless prepared that way. I’ve compared.
At a class reunion at the posh Manila Polo Club, I ordered mojito and the drink came with mint leaves pulverized to smithereens. Obviously, the bartender dumped mixed the mojito in a blender and it was just awful.
The same technique was used by the bartender at a Mexican place where I had dinner and drinks with two girlfriends. Worse, it was so watered down that it was difficult to feel the potency of the alcohol and the contasting tang and sweetness.
After those two disastrous occasions, I refrained from ordering mojito. It’s just much better to make it at home. No shortcuts, no substitutions and no watering down.
- ¼ large lime - or half of a medium-sized one
- 2 to 3 sprigs fresh mint leaves - spearmint is especially good
- rum - about a tablespoon more than the amount of the juice from the lime
- 2 to 3 tablespoons sugar
- soda water
- ice cubes
- Place the lime, mint leaves and sugar in a glass.
- Muddle them together in a slow but firm circular motion.
- Add some ice then pour in enough soda water to fill the glass.
- And that’s it! Enjoy your cold, cold mojito.