This recipe was first published as part of our cocktail history feature on the Mojito.
The Mojito as still made today in Cuba differs to the modern drink you get elsewhere, which often has crushed ice and flecks of mint all over the place (including in your teeth). The Cuban Mojito is merely a Rum Collins with a mint garnish. There is no fussy muddling of limes, and the mint is handled gently. Many Cuban bartenders simply bruise the leafy parts of a mint sprig in a few places with the blade of their mixing spoon, then swab the sprig around the glass to distribute the aromas. Think of the drink as a rummy refreshment with a delightful mint accent. The ice is always cubed rather than crushed, giving an almost transparent look. Bitters are not always used, but about half of Havana bartenders like them. Bars in Cuba sometimes sweeten the drink with fresh sugar cane juice rather than white sugar.
60ml White Cuban rum
20ml Lime juice
1-2tsp White sugar (or sugar syrup)
2 Sprigs of mint
60ml Soda water
Build the drink in a small highball glass. Mojitos are mixed strong in Cuba, but the glasses are rarely large. Mix the sugar and lime juice, then add the mint and gently muddle. Some bartenders also add the soda water before muddling. Fill the glass with cubed ice. Next add the rum, top with soda (if not already added) and briefly stir. Garnish with a mint sprig, gentling slapping the leaves to release their aroma. If desired, finish with a dash of Angostura bitters. Add a straw and serve.