The Dos and Donts of Mojitos

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Well, it’s mojito season here in the northern hemisphere, which means it’s time for a little lesson for the novice and experienced mojito drinker alike. Follow these helpful hints, dear reader, and you won’t dare go wrong.

Do use crushed ice in your mojitos. Crushed ice will melt faster, which is a good thing in a drink with such strong flavors. The extra surface area of crushed ice also means a colder drink.

Do not use a pre-made mojito mix out of a bottle. This is one drink you want to do right.

Do use this recipe to make yourself a mojito at home.

Do not over-muddle the mint, or muddle the lime with the ice cubes. These are strictly amateur moves.

Do try Bacardi rum in your mojitos. For many of us, it is the closest thing we can get to real Cuban rum.

Do not use dark or gold rum in your mojitos. They can muddy the flavor tremendously.

Do use bottled mineral water in place of seltzer water. Remember, garbage in, garbage out.

Do not order a mojito when there is a line at the bar. Your bartender is probably not going to put a lot of love into it. In fact, you might get just the opposite.

Do order a mojito when the bar is slow. Your bartender will appreciate having an intricate cocktail to make. And if he/she doesn’t? Fuck ’em.

Do not have ten mojitos tonight. At around 150 calories each, that’s like 1500 calories, there, fatty.

Do order a mojito from a reputable bartender at a reputable bar.

Do not order a mojito at a dance club, sports bar, drink stand, airport bar, OTB saloon, chain restaurant or fraternity house. You’re just going to end up being disappointed.

Do order a mojito on a warm summer evening.

Do not order a mojito when the weather is below 70°F. This is almost as bad as ordering a Bloody Mary after the sun has gone down.

Do slowly sip a mojito and enjoy the way the flavors meld over time.

Do not slurp down a mojito in less time than it took your bartender to make it. You’re probably already on the back burner for ordering it in the first place, and it’s going to be a while before you’re allowed another.

91 Replies to “The Dos and Donts of Mojitos”

  • Jeffrey says:

    Here’s a question for Scottes, would 10 Cane be considered, technically, rhum agricole? I know it’s not made from molasses but rather pressed cane juice…

    I don’t typically roll a mojito, but I’m not opposed to the idea. However, I think the swizzle component is an integral part of the drink.

    As for straining a mojito, I’m going to have to go with Booze Dummy on this one. The mint and the lime rind are important elements to the cocktail.

    And if you really want to do it right, use your fingers to squeeze that lime. You’ll find that by not disturbing the bitter pith you’ll end up with a much more authentic drink.


  • Scottes says:

    Ten Cane is not an agricole, since agricoles are strictly regulated by the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC), a set of very strict French laws governing how one makes agricole, cognac, etc.

    Ten Cane is made in a similar way as agricoles – but so are Barbancourt rums and cachaca, and you have 3 very different tastes. Much of this has to do with the different distillation methods (agricole is distilled to 74 proof, cachaca generally much lower, Ten Cane probably much higher), yeasts, aging, etc. Since the AOC strictly defines the entire process you get similar tastes among agricoles, whereas cachacas can vary wildly.

    Ten Cane does have some of the qualities of an agricole like the crisp freshness and the mild fruity tendencies and being on the dry side. And I have to agree that Ten Cane makes an excellent Mojito, but it can be done much cheaper.

  • Darcy says:

    I’m glad to see your recipe doesn’t include bitters. A lot of people are saying that a Mojito contains them, but they don’t.

    I love Havana Club Anejo Blanco rum. I find Matusalem rum to be very, very light in flavour. They even market at the vodka crowd. Flora De Cana has a good white rum.

  • Michael says:

    it’s a legitimate argument booze dummy. i wouldn’t shake and strain unless the mint was truly ground into more of a mint sugar paste. shaking and straining with limes and sprigs would result is something less palatable. i got the idea years ago from chefs Mary Sue Milliaken and Susan Feniger (of Border Grill fame) who whipped up a batch of premix in a blender with mint, lime juice and sugar, then strained it out. it’s not a traditional mojito, i suppose, but it still makes one hell of a good drink.

  • Jeffrey says:

    Years ago I worked in a pretty high-volume restaurant bar, where we made a mint-infused brown sugar simple syrup for our mojitos. We would then juice a whole lime into the glass with an ounce of our mint simple, add rum, ice, and garnish with a sprig.

    No, it definitely wasn’t traditional, but it tasted fine and we could crank them out by the dozen.

  • Betsy says:

    I’m getting hordes and hordes of Google searchers invading my site for my mojito recipe.

    I just updated the post to point them back to you/this page instead of sending them back to Google, poor souls!

    You’ve got me re-examining my own rum choice – Cruzan Gold (must head to liquor store NOW) – but you should check out some of the variations I’ve come up with; I’d love to hear your thoughts!

  • Jeffrey says:

    Well, thanks, Betsy!

    Definitely try silver rum in place of gold or dark. Remember, you want that bite to balance out the sugar, the mint, and the lime. Too much butterscotch and the whole drink falls apart. Keep those gold rums away from your mojito!

  • Darryl says:

    I like the look of the mint and lime in the drink as well, but since my blender screams bloody murder when I try to crush ice with it, I usually just shake and strain my Mojitos. When topped with a sprig of mint, they look just as nice to me.

    I also go with Gary Regan’s tip and use granulated sugar, which grinds against the lime zest when muddling and results in a stronger lime taste.

    And good point about Bacardi – it actually makes a damn good Mojito.

  • Dina says:

    MMMkay… I swear to the lord… I just came over to your site to ask you about which rum was best for mojitos that I’m making this weekend… and lookit what I found on the main page!! AWESOME! It helps to have the right friends.

    Can’t wait to make ’em.

    Thanks Jeff…

  • Jeffrey says:

    Dina, I’m just glad I could help.

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