“It’s one of the first Cuban classic cocktails, and by far the most popular in Cuba and all around the world,” says Julio Cabrera, cantinero and founder of Miami bar Cafe La Trova, about the Mojito. The cooling cocktail we’re familiar with today probably descended from a concoction dating to the 1500s called El Draque.
“After several evolutions, the Mojito Criollo was created in the early 1900s; its combination of fresh mint with lime, sugar, rum, and club soda makes it perfect for tropical environments,” Cabrera says. As the drink gained a global audience, it found especially generous coattails belonging to Ernest Hemingway. “It was the drink for intellectuals, musicians, poets, and writers during the 1950s,” Cabrera says. British spies, too, as the drink’s popularity surged in America following a shared scene with Pierce Brosnan’s James Bond in Die Another Day.
Made from a deceptively simple mix of ingredients, the Mojito requires finesse to achieve its long levels of breezy bliss. At La Trova, approximately 200 of these liquid vacations are muddled and mixed nightly. “Nothing is more refreshing and pleasant than a good and well-made Mojito!” says Cabrera.
2 oz. white rum
¾ oz. fresh lime juice
½ Tbsp. white granulated sugar
8-10 mint leaves
Club soda, to top
Tools: muddler, barspoon
Garnish: mint sprig
In a highball glass, add the sugar and the lime juice, stirring to combine, then add the mint leaves and muddle gently. Fill the glass with ice, then add the rum and top with club soda, stirring gently before garnishing.
Adapted by Julio Cabrera, Cafe La Trova, Miami