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:
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.
STUFF YOU NEED TO KNOW!
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.