We can feel it in the air, see it in the blooming flowers, and sense it every time we step out of our homes and the sun warms our skin. Spring Mojito is here! And with the good weather, spring breaks, and music festivals, our cocktail cravings start to kick in. 

There’s nothing we love more than a tasty, citric, and fresh drink that serves as a good ally for EVERY social event. Enter the mojito, a timeless highball that perfectly blends sweet, tart, and herbaceous flavors.

Before unraveling the secret recipe that COCINA holds, there’s a bit of history to unravel when it comes to this classic and full alternative drink.

The Art of the Classic Mojito: A Foundation for Fun

The mojito’s origins are shrouded in delightful mystery, with tales placing its birth in Cuba during the 16th or 19th centuries. Some claim Sir Francis Drake, a notorious pirate, invented it using a similar drink called the “Drakes Draddy.”  Regardless of its exact beginnings, the mojito’s core ingredients have remained constant: white rum, fresh mint, lime juice, sugar, soda water, and ice.

spring_mojito_latin_drink

And you know what they say… if the shoe fits, why change it? Mojito has been fitting so many bars, parties, gatherings, solo moments that its presence is a classic. But how do you succeed at making this Latin-born drink?

Well, first things first. What do we need?

  • White Rum: The base spirit provides the backbone of the drink. Choose a light, silver rum for a clean flavor profile that complements the other ingredients.
  • Fresh Mint: The heart and soul of the mojito. Use the freshest mint you can find, as it releases the most vibrant essential oils when muddled. Fun fact: Mint was originally believed to aid digestion and freshen breath, hence its inclusion in this refreshing drink.
  • Lime Juice: Freshly squeezed lime juice adds a necessary tartness and balances the sweetness of the sugar. Did you know that limes were originally cultivated in Southeast Asia before being brought to the Caribbean by Spanish explorers in the 16th century?
  • Sugar: White granulated sugar is the traditional choice. Simple syrup can be used for easier mixing, but be mindful of adjusting the amount to avoid an overly sweet drink.
  • Soda Water: Provides a refreshing fizz and helps dilute the stronger elements. Opt for club soda for a more subtle carbonation or a splash of seltzer for a bolder bite.
  • Ice: Crushed ice chills the drink quickly and melts slowly, preventing dilution.

With the ingredients already set on the table, here’s how you muddle… 

For those who do not know what “muddle” means… muddling is the act of gently pressing the mint leaves to release their oils and is a crucial step in creating a flavorful mojito. Here’s how to do it right:

  • Place a few mint sprigs (around 5-6) in a sturdy highball glass.
  • Add a bar spoon of sugar on top of the mint.
  • Using a muddler (or the end of a wooden spoon in a pinch), gently press the mint and sugar together, releasing the mint’s aroma without pulverizing the leaves.

Now to the fun part: you bought, you prepped, you muddled, now let’s shake-it-off:

  1. Fill the glass with crushed ice.
  2. Pour in your measured white rum (typically 2 ounces).
  3. Add the fresh lime juice (around 1 ounce).
  4. Top with soda water, leaving some space at the rim.
  5. Give everything a quick stir to combine.
  6. Garnish with a fresh mint sprig and a lime wedge.

At COCINA, we also know that although Mojitos include alcohol to honor the traditional recipe, you don’t need to include rum if you are looking for a healthier alternative. So… let us introduce you to the “Vegan Mojito Smoothie.” An ideal recipe to have all the fun without the next morning buzz. 

Vegan Mojito Smoothie

Mojito’s Alternatives Are Here To Stay 

Spring is a time for renewal, and that can extend to your cocktail repertoire. Here are some simple tweaks to elevate your classic mojito:

Swap the Rum: For a touch of smoky depth, try an aged amber rum. For a lighter option, explore white or silver cachaça, a Brazilian sugarcane spirit.

Sugar Alternatives: Honey syrup or agave nectar add a touch of floral sweetness. Experiment with flavored simple syrups like lavender or rose for a unique twist.

Fruity Twists: Muddle fresh berries like strawberries or blueberries with the mint for a burst of fruity flavor. You can also add a splash of fruit juice like mango or pineapple.

Herbal Enhancements: Swap the mint for fresh basil, rosemary, or even lemongrass for a surprising yet delightful twist.

WOW! We know it sounds like A LOT. But this drink is not only a Latin classic, easy-to-make beverage. It is, after all, a way of celebrating what’s coming our way, of blooming with the flowers and embracing the constant changes in our lives. Remember to be responsible when prepping, sharing, and drinking, and that there’s ALWAYS a non-alcoholic alternative for you to keep enjoying and discovering flavors.

Ready? Now raise your glass!

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