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”

  • Dominik MJ says:

    Yeah its Mojito time. I just cannot agree on the “do not use gold rum”. I also prefer white rum (Matusalem Platino is really great – I don’t like the relatively unbalanced flavors of Havana Club Anejo blanco though the best Mojito rum for me is for the moment Angostura 3 years; a slightly smoky white rum).

    But most Cuban bartenders are using Havana Club 3 years for their mojitos nowadays and looks as it goes perfectly fine!

    I also wouldn’t muddle the lime and just bruise but not muddle the mint (whole sprigs).

    Though it is not a classic mojito a Bermuda Luxury “Mojito” is also a hell of a drink: just use Gosling Family Reserve instead of light rum – definitely less refreshing, but deep, complex and just superior!

  • Sean Bigley says:

    I still think I’ll go with the white rums myself. I’m not a big fan of vanilla, butterscotch, caramel notes in my Mojito. I only like to use the leaves of the mint. The stems are very bitter and will alter the flavor. As for muddling, I like to press the leaves just enough to release the oils.

    It is great to see all the variations that everyone here uses, though.


  • Scottes says:

    “Do not over-muddle the mint…”

    Yesterday I visited Rumba, a rum bar here in Boston, and watched a young bartender make a Mojito. He was *grinding* the mint, putting his whole body behind the muddler, grinding like he was trying to turn the glass back into sand…

  • Mojitos are so yesterday…What are your thoughts on the caipirinha?

  • Jeffrey says:

    Hey, everybody! This little discussion of ours has been picked up by Food and Wine Magazine’s Blog.

    As for the caipirinha, I’ll get to that…

  • Havanamike says:

    While Jeff’s basic recipe is close to right on, here are a couple of more do’s and don’ts;

    1) DO use yerba buena mint where possible, otherwise use english mint more commonly packaged at your grocer. I don’t order a mojito anywhere unless they have fresh mint. Stems are good too.

    2) Don’t mix in bulk. This drink needs a tall highball glass and lots of love.

    3) DON’T use simple syrups. use two rounded teaspoons of fine-easy disolving sugar. Better yet, use exactly four packets of splenda to cut down on the sugar calories.

    4) DO muddle the mint, lime juice, sugar (or splenda) with a splash of the mineral water for 15-20 seconds. muddle and don’t grind. You are trying to extract the oils from the mint here and not trying to make a smoothie.

    5) DO agree with the above that white Bacardi works best when Havana Club Blanco or 3 yr anejo are not available.

    6) DO share and enjoy.

  • Jeffrey says:

    Thanks, Mike.

    I get a lot of “purists” insisting that you should always use granulated sugar rather than – gasp – simple syrup.

    These folks, like Havanamike here, will then direct you to add a splash of water and muddle the sugar with the mint, effectively making…. simple syrup.

    Folks, you can use granulated sugar and end up over-muddling your mint and making a grainy simple syrup, or you can use simple syrup from the get-go and end up with a drink that has a fine, silky texture.

    Your choice.

    But nice list otherwise, Mike!

  • minion says:

    actually, use havanna club rum instead of bacardi if you live somewhere where they are allowed to trade with cuba. bacardy is awfull compared to havana club.

  • Mata says:

    Honey I’m back in Javea, Spain and will definitely make your delicious mojito recipe for my friends THIS weekend! Tell you all about it later…hasta luego guapo!

  • David says:

    got to say i use Havana 3yr too. i just think that bacadi has too much of a brittle taste to it.

    i would like peoples critical comments on my method, which is quite different to the one posted be still gives a very nice drink.

    12 mint leave
    3/4 of a lime
    15-20mls gomme syrup
    50mls havana 3yr

    muddle sugar and limes in a glass boston. muddle quite hard to get the oils out of the skin of the lime. loosely tare up the mint leaves and add to glass with the rum. add cubes of ice and shake hard. pour in to collins glass and top with crushed ice heaped on top, sprig of mint and a drop of angostura bitters (not for flavour, for ascetics. it looks cool as it trickles down the extra crushed ice).

    i shake the cocktail because
    a) i believe the ice smashing against mint releases more of the flavour
    b) because i dont have any crushed ice in my bar so shaking breaks up the ice cubes and
    c) because it mixes the drink up evenly.

    i dont add soda as the shaking the drink waters it down enough.

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