>How to Make the Perfect Mojito

An important aspect of the Mojito Literary Society is — of course — the mojito. The derivation of the name is unclear; it could refer to mojo, a lime-flavored seasoning mixture popular in Cuban cuisine, or to the word mojadito, Spanish for “a little wet.” A favorite drink of Ernest Hemingway (whose graffiti praising the drink can still be seen on the walls of his favorite Cuban bar), the mojito is a deceptively simple mixture of five basic ingredients:

Lime juice
Cane sugar
Club soda
Fresh mint leaves (traditionally yerba buena in Cuba, but most commonly spearmint or peppermint in the US)

I’ve had many mojitos. Some have been exquisite; others have been like salad in a glass. I make my own at home regularly, and they are quite tasty if I do say so myself (and I do).

Still, when it comes to mixology, there’s no greater authority than my friend Chris Milligan. He writes the blog The Sante Fe Barman and is, IMHO, a genius with all things spirited. When I asked him to explain how to make a perfect mojito, he graciously obliged.

So here it is, folks, straight from someone who knows — the perfect mojito a la Chris Milligan.

In a 12 oz glass, muddle 10-12 Mint leaves with 3/4 oz simple syrup and 1/2 oz fresh lime juice. Add ice, 2 oz white rum, and fill with club soda. Using a long handled spoon, pull the mint from the bottom of the glass to combine. You are also mixing in the lime and simple syrup. Garnish with a lime wheel.


Muddling — the idea in this drink is to extract the oils from the mint without tearing the leaves, so be gentle. My buddy Robert Hess does a great demo on muddling (find that here on Small Screen Network.)

Measure, Measure, Measure. Get a small OXO measuring cup or jigger. This is KEY.

That brings us back to the glassware. If your glasses are bigger than 12 oz, you will need to adjust.

A lime wheel is a lime cut in a circle from pole to pole.

Simple syrup — 1 lb. BY WEIGHT of sugar and 8 oz of water (filtered) by volume. Place in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer for 5 minutes. Let cool to room temperature. This keeps for 3-5 days or add a shot of vodka to keep for 3 weeks.

Published by laura

I'm the author of two short story collections, a story cycle, and a collection of short memoirs. I am an educator, literary translator, journal editor, and writing coach.

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