As it goes with these things, not everyone agrees on exactly how the recipe for the mojito came about, or where it was first enjoyed.
One (very plausible) theory hinges around English mariner, Sir Francis Drake. Drake landed in Havana in the 1500s to plunder and pillage but was unsuccessful. Their story goes that his swashbuckling crew was suffering from scurvy. Now, in their wealth of age-old wisdom, the local indigenous people had natural remedies for various diseases. Drake’s crew knew this, so a small party went ashore in peace (and hope) and returned, thanks to the considerate locals with ‘aguardiente’ – a tonic of mint leaves, lime, and sugar cane juice, which was swiftly turned into a drink. Not long after that a cocktail called ‘El Draque’ (apparently named after Drake himself) which was made with similar ingredients, became popular in Cuba.
Another story tells the tale of how African slaves working in the Cuban sugar cane fields created the drink from ‘aguardiente de cana’ (firewater of the sugar cane) – a basic sugar cane alcohol.
So what’s in the name? Some say that it is derived from the word “mojo” meaning “to place a little spell” while others believe it is derived from the Spanish word “mojadito” (meaning “a little wet”). Still, others link it directly to the Cuban lime-based seasoning “mojo.”
Well, there you go… Throw in the La Bodeguita del Medio restaurant in Havana where Ernest Hemmingway ‘discovered’ the cocktail and you’re armed with whole heap info with which to impress your mates next time by making them the much-storied cocktail, here’s how:
50ml Bacardi rum
50ml – 100ml Sparkling water
Half a fresh lime cut into chunks
2 teaspoons white sugar castor if possible
2 sprigs of mint
3 ice cubes 1 scoop of crushed ice recommended not compulsory but is def better
Start by muddling the sugar and the fresh lime juice with a muddle stick. Place mint leaves in the palm of your hand and smack them to release aromas. Mix it all up again after adding the rum and the ice cubes. Top up with the sparkling water, garnish with a mint sprig, and then enjoy!