Mojitos, Mo’ Problems

I have to admit, I’m something of a mojito connoisseur. Mojito addict might be the more appropriate term. I know, I know, it’s not the hippest of cocktails these days. “Oh, Miss Mojito, you are so 2005,” you might scold. But I don’t care. My name is Miss Mojito, and I’m a mojito addict. The tangy lime, the sweet pop of sugar, the heady rum, and the mint—oh the mint! It’s what elevates the mojito from a cocktail to an art form.

Unfortunately, for such a simple concoction, it’s surprisingly easy to get wrong. I should know. I’ve tried to recreate the perfect mojito countless times, based on sublime encounters I’ve had with the drink atMojitos, 'mo problems different locales across Virginia. Charlottesville , for example, has a surprisingly high ratio of mojitos-per-capita, while Richmond is, comparably, lacking. A notable exception is Havana ’59, a Cuban restaurant where, just last weekend, a girlfriend and I indulged in some great appetizers and their delectable signature drink. In the absence of a trip to Havana , these recipes will hopefully meet your mojito fix.

But first, a few notes:

  • Always use a freshly opened bottle of club soda when making mojitos. Even a day-old bottle can leave your mojito tasting lifeless and limp.
  • Mojitos certainly taste best in the summer, when you can gather some mint from your own herb garden. But supermarket mint works in a pinch – especially during these cold months when you’re craving a mojito to shed some tropical warmth into your winter.
  • Give your limes a roll on the countertop before cutting and squeezing to up their juiciness quotient.
  • Invest in a long-handled, sturdy muddler, available at most cooking stores. It will pull the most flavor out of the mint leaves.
  • Taste your mojito at every step of the process. Your personal mojito taste might be different from Miss M’s—we like a predominance of tart with a strong kick of sweet—but taste frequently to be certain. You might want to add an extra teaspoon of sugar, another slug of rum or an extra squeeze of lime.
  • Most importantly, remember: mojitos, ‘mo problems. I recommend a limit of four. After that, things might just start to get fuzzy.

Miss M’s Quick & Easy Mojito
This is a go-to version when you don’t have the patience to whip up a simple syrup. Serves 4.

In a large pitcher, muddle two handfuls of mint and 4 teaspoons of powdered sugar. Fill halfway with ice, then add the juice of four limes. Add the squeezed lime rinds to the pitcher. Finish with eight ounces of white rum and six to eight ounces of club soda, then stir to mix. Serve with a sprig of mint.

Raspberry Mojito
Miss M discovered this drink at Mono Loco, her favorite restaurant in Charlottesville . The muddled berries make a magical addition to this drink. We think this recipe is a fairly close match to the restaurant’s original. Serves 4.

Bring two parts sugar and one part water to a boil on the stovetop. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat. Pour two ounces of the syrup in a large pitcher with two handfuls of mint and one handful of fresh raspberries (reserve the remaining syrup in the refrigerator for later use). Muddle well. Fill the pitcher halfway with ice, then add the juice of four limes. Add the squeezed lime rinds to the pitcher. Finish with eight ounces of Bacardi Razz (Bacardi Limon or plain white rum are substitutes) and six to eight ounces of club soda. Stir to mix, and garnish with mint and whole raspberries.
Lime Pump

Personally speaking, a mojito puts me in a dancing frame of mind. So put on your dancing shoes and salsa-it-up with this Cuban concoction. May I recommend this saucy lime-green pair from Ralph Lauren, on sale over at our friends at endless.com?

posted by Miss Mojito

7 responses to “Mojitos, Mo’ Problems

  1. Oooooh Ms Mojito even though I’m not a huge mint lover, you make me want to whip up a pitcher of these? Do you recommend a piece of sugar cane in these, or are those for caprihinias. I get them confused.

  2. Miss M, I second the notion that mojitos can be enjoyed year-round. I attended a holiday cocktails seminar awhile back and they shared a mojito recipe, similar to your raspberry one, but with cranberries. I think the drink is a classic, and one that can be adapted for any season.

    PS-Is that mojitos, mo’ problems pic from a t-shirt? Super cute.

  3. A cranberry mojito? That is something I must try immediately. And yes, that is a favorite t-shirt of mine, Ms. S&C.

    LC, I do tend to reserve a sugar cane garnish for the caprihinia. Since caprihinias are actually made from cachaca, the Brazilian sugar cane liquor, that particular garnish makes a nice complement. But it would certainly be fun to try in a mojito!

  4. Blackberry mojitos are also a delish twist on a traditional mojito – when you are in the mood to mix up a classic. Thanks for the recipe without simple syrup – that part always makes me hesitate to make them at home – now I have no excuse!

  5. Tip for Mojitos:
    If you have the time, using grain sugar instead of syrup or fine sugar produces a better tasting drink, the abbrasive action of muddling the lime and sugar releases more oil from the skin of the lime. The drawback of this method is that it takes quite a while for the sugar to disolve, which keeps you muddling for much longer.

  6. Having taught too many bartenders how to properly make mojitos, I must concur with Rhys – the use of grain sugar makes a better tasting drink. You may also wish to consider trying a Parisian Mojito where one substitutes Champagne for club soda. Another drink which may interest you is the Santero

  7. Wow, the Parisian mojito sounds fantastic. Thanks for the tip!

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