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:


    I’m sure your version tastes great, but we’re talking about a very traditional mojito here and there are a few things you don’t want to do when making a traditional mojito:

    1. Use anything but white rum. Aged rums muddy the color of the drink and bring some funky caramel flavors to the party.

    2. Shake a mojito. Trust me, this is one that wants to be stirred. If you want to crush that ice up, fill a mixing tin with cubes and muddle the hell out of them.

    3. Muddle limes hard. Lime juice is a wonderful thing. Bitter lime oil is not. At least not in this drink.

    4. Add Angostura bitters for color. A mojito should be pale green and clear as a spring day.

    5. Destroy that mint. You want to press the oils out of the leaves, not pulverize the herb into a paste.

    Oh, and do add soda water. Please.

  • Jimmy says:

    Yeah, good advice…

    I strongly argee with your rules on when to order and when not t order a Mojito…I’ve always viewed it as a drink to be had in the afternoon or on a warm summer night, I view Corona in the same way, drink the light beer when the weather is nice save the stronger dry beers for cold nights and crazy drinking parties.
    I also agree with you on where to order it… My favorte place was a bar in asia that use to go to “La Habana”…Could there be a more fitting pace? No. However many of the women that I would find myself with would insist on ordering Mojitos in the crowed austailian sports bar at midnight…I never understood that.

  • Al says:

    All you Carib rum drinkers out there have missed the very best rum for any drink

    Thats Flor de Cana out of Nicoragua

    Makes a great mojito as well

  • Kevin says:

    It’s interesting to see how much everyone thinks they know about mojitos.

    I live in Miami Beach and have been making mojitos for nearly 10 years and I can tell you one thing, there is no such thing as a traditional mojito anymore, and if you made a mojito down here the way you described, it would be returned. Guaranteed.

    You are right about the rum though. White rum, preferably Bacardi, makes the best mojitos.

  • Now, Kevin, you may not care for my recipe, but I do have a hard time believing that the proportions are so foul that everyone in Miami Beach would return the drink. Seriously.

  • meemalee says:

    At home, we’ve started making mojitos with agave syrup.

    Hmmm, sacrilicious …

  • Meemalee, I think agave syrup is a wonderful way to sweeten a mojito. And lower glycemic index, too!

  • Ryan says:


    Have you ever tried making a Mojito with Bacardi Coco (coconut flavored) Rum? I sent a friend on a mission for white run and he came back with the Coconut flavored stuff. Being a tropical drink, I figured it couldn’t hurt. It seems to really add something to the flavor without over powering the mint and lime.



  • Ryan

    I try to ride this line between attempting to remain very traditional when talking about, making or imbibing cocktails… and not being seen as a snob.

    However, I’m going to have to take the high road on this one and say that I think coconut rum tastes like suntan lotion and should be consumed about as often.

    However, if you’re looking for a coconut-flavored thrill, why not look for some coconut water? I’ve found it at my local asian and latin markets. Once you’ve procured some, it wouldn’t be hard to carbonate it and use it in place of soda water in your mojito.

    Disclaimer: I’ve actually tried this before and it tastes pretty good. Without the suntan lotion flavor.

  • Stef says:

    I made my first Mojito with your suggestions…ummm ummm good.

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