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”

  • Lisa says:

    Mojitos are my favorite but when I am drug (not by choice) to a lower end bar that does not have a stash of mint, what concoction do I describe to the bartender that will get me the closest?

  • Lisa – Not to sound high-and-mighty or anything, but if the bar doesn’t stock fresh ingredients, I don’t bother ordering a drink that requires them. Asking for a substitution for fresh mint is like asking for a substitution for fresh cucumber: such a product simply doesn’t exist.

    Do yourself a favor and skip the mojito when you’re in a dive bar, and order a rum and soda instead. Extra points to the first person who can tell me what this drink is called.

  • ND says:

    Would that be a Bacardi Highball? (With a gracious nod to, LOL). Do you think Fee’s mint bitters would enhance a Mojito, BTW?

  • According to Wayne Curtis in his book “And a Bottle of Rum”, the drink is called a Mismo.

  • Fran Johnston says:

    Cruzan is the only way to go!

  • To Darcy (comment #13), a traditional mojito as per Hemingway’s interest doesn’t contain bitters, but you can’t say that mojito’s “aren’t” supposed to contain them. Many Havana hotels will add angostura bitters in order to cut the sweetness, it’s not terribly traditional, but it’s not a no-no either.

  • fornetti says:

    I do not believe this

  • Taff says:

    I’m not sure the ice must be crushed and a gold/dark rum version with dark sugar is acceptable (well in Cuba at least), but is certainly heavier in flavour.

    And sugar syrup is OK too. It’s all about your taste and preference I guess but don’t say that it’s “NOT” a mojito if dark rum used, if it’s not with crushed ice etc…

    The key is it must have mint, sugar and rum over ice topped with carbonated water.

    Try a little variation, you may like it.

  • Daniel says:

    Great blog roll here. very interesting to hear everyones thoughts on the mojito. i work in a bar where i personally crank out 30-40 mojitos of a friday and sat night and my method is very similar to jeffreys. one thing i do is i slap and put the mint in the highball first, followed by the limes and sugar syrup. then i muddle lightly. the limes are protecting the mint from bruising and tearing while still applying enough pressure to release the essential oils and flavours. add the lime juice, ice and rum (we use havan 3y/o) and stir it up before topping off with soda. hmmmm.

  • Dustin says:

    10 cane is the best IMO. Add a piece of sugar cane stick to your drink and its perfect.

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