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”

  • William says:

    Good advice.
    But frankly, I see no harm in sipping a Bloody Mary after sundown. Just ask the Brits.

  • Martin K. says:

    Dear Mr. South Beach,
    went there with my wife the other day and ordered Mojito right there on Ocean Dr. Came out in a plastic cup, with two small mint leaves, and a wedge of lime floating around, none of which was muddled. Tasted like someone spilled simple syrup in the “Mojito”. Horrible stuff.

  • Todd Appel says:

    I agreed with EVERYTHING except I do like a golden rum with a bit more flavor sometimes…

    definitely not dark…

    with margaritas I would never use a reposado or anejo..but the quality young tequila has so much more flavor than clear rum-vodka so I only use plata

  • Linda says:

    Great recipe.

    Johnathan and who ever else said to add juice….It isn’t a mojito if you make it into fruit punch! Rename your version, please.

  • Min says:

    i made mojitos with coco-water before but you really take it to another level….carbonate the coco-water, fukn brilliant. Its perfect for home use, but it can easily become an expensive drink if its for commercial purposes, them 100% coconut water packets are not cheap at all. Make sure it says 100% pure coconut, GOYA’s coco is not pure.
    By the way this is the best mojito, i’ve had in my life.

    The seriousness of your mixology really shows in between these efforts you make.

  • John Eason says:

    How can you have this discussion without mentioning Don Q Cristal or Limon? Here is a recipe that I love and use frequently in demonstrations. BTW…I work for Don Q so I am a bit biased.

    10 mint leaves

    1 rounded tbsp sugar

    1/2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice or 1/2 lime sliced into 3 wedges

    11/2 ounce Don Q Limon

    Splash soda water

    Lemon or lime wedge for garnish

    Place mint, sugar and lime in 12 ounce glass and muddle together

    Fill glass with ice. Add rum. Shake vigorously. Top with splash of soda water.

    Garnish with lemon or lime wedge.

  • will says:

    A great twist on the traditional mojito is to replace the soda water with a sparkling white wine you can use a sweeter one and cut down on the amount of sugar you use. Also I was recently shown an “Infuego” which is a couple pieces of a seeded jalepeno muddled with cilantro sugar and a white tequila.

  • Sue says:

    I recently made a mojito martini, just sugar, mint, l/2 lime and dark rum. Amazing, all in a shaker and serve in a sugar rimmed martini glass.

  • I have been to a couple of places that make “mojitos” with sprite. Yikes. They are usually the same places that have bud light on draft.

  • Bo Darville says:

    I ordered one once and it was made with Malibu and Sprite. They served it in a 20 ounce glass, too. That’s 20 ounces of pure ickery.

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