We can wax on about the glory of the mojito – this perfect concoction of rum, mint, sugar, lime juice, and sparkling water -- but I'm guessing you won't need a lot of convincing in that regard.
Instead, let’s discuss the building of the mojito, which in my opinion, is what distinguishes a "good" mojito from a "truly incredible" mojito.
Video: How to Make Mojitos
Secret to a Better Mojito
Before now, you may have made mojitos like this: You threw some mint, lime juice, and sugar into a glass and then mashed ‘em up with a wooden spoon, or if you were feeling bartender-y, with a fancy muddler. Then you added a little booze and a lot of soda water, resulting in a sparkling, mint salad in a glass with a hint of rum.
No more. You’re better than that, and your mojitos should be too! The better way to make mojitos takes a little more time, patience, and effort, but is well worth it.
Take a mortar and pestle and slowly crush the mint and sugar with a splash of the rum until you have a very fine paste. After that, add the rest of the rum and let it infuse for a few minutes, then strain the mixture, and top with a bare splash of soda.
The result is a mojito that's not only cleaner in appearance (big mint flavor, no floating mint leaves), but also endlessly more flavorful than any mojito you’ve previously experienced.
The Ingredients for Making a Mojito
A mojito isn't one of those fancy drinks that requires a laundry list of ingredients or special prep work. All you need is the following:
- Fresh mint
- White rum
- Fresh lime juice
- Soda water
The Best Rum for Mojitos
Go for white rum in a mojito. This has a cleaner, fresher taste than golden rums, which are aged. Paired with the mint, it makes a light and refreshing cocktail.
Mount Gay or Bacardi Silver are both smooth and affordable options.
Mojitos for a Crowd
Using a mortar and pestle is the way to go for one simply perfect cocktail, but that's not going to fly at a party.
To make mojitos for a crowd, scale up the ingredients as much as you'd like and puree them in a blender or food processor. Let steep for about 5 minutes, then strain through a fine-mesh strainer (line it with a coffee filter if you'd like to catch every particle of mint).
This infused rum mixture can be made a few hours ahead of your party and kept refrigerate.
More Favorite Rum Drinks!
A mortar and pestle are really the best tools for this recipe, but if you don't have one, then chop the mint as finely as you can, then smash it with a fork in a small bowl to mix it with the sugar and rum. You can also puree the mint, sugar, and all of the rum in a clean spice grinder.
Traditionally, you would use a highball glass for mojitos, but it's fine to use whatever glass you like for your cocktail.
- 10 large mint leaves, plus extra for garnish
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 2 1/2 ounces white rum
- 1 tablespoon lime juice (from half a lime)
- Soda water
- A few sprigs fresh mint, to garnish
- Thinly sliced wheels of lime, to garnish
Make the mint paste:
Place the mint, sugar, and 1/2 ounce of the rum into the bottom of a mortar and pestle, and grind slowly until it turns into a paste.
Add the rest of the rum and allow it to steep for about 5 minutes:
If your mortar is too small for the additional rum, transfer the paste to a small bowl and then add the rum.
Strain the rum:
Fill a glass with ice. Set a small mesh strainer over the glass and strain the mint mixture. Use a spoon to press out every last drop of rum from the paste. (Use a large bowl and strainer if that’s all you have then transfer to the glass. Whatever works for you.)
Finish the cocktail:
Add the lime juice and top with soda water. Stir together and garnish with a lime wheel or a sprig of mint if you’re feeling extra fancy.