We all know where Ernest Hemingway supposedly enjoyed a Mojito and where he enjoyed a Daquiri, but it’s the beginnings of the Mojito that date back to the days of yore, namely those of Francis Drake in the 1500s.
Recently, the drink has enjoyed a resurgence in bars around the globe, making it an easy target for all-too-serious cocktail buffs. But if you’re looking to mix it up a little, there are some great variations out there that can inject a little – or a lot – of variety into your typical Mojito.
Here are five of our favorites:
Courtesy of Joe Brooke
Joe Brooke gives us a cocktail featuring lemon verbena and black tea simple syrup, dubbed the “Mo-High-Tea”. Imparting his requirement that “a Mojito should be light,” the recipe blends lemon verbena, an under-utilized flowering plant with the herbal properties of tea, and the tropical notes of Caña Brava rum. At first glance, it seems as though the obvious cues (mint and citrus) are missing, until you realize that they really aren’t.
- 1 3/4 oz. Caña Brava rum
- 1 oz. Black Tea Simple Syrup (See Below)
- 1 oz. Lemon Juice
- 5-8 Leaves Lemon Verbena, Muddled
- 2 oz. Soda Water
- Lemon Verbena Leaves and/or Flowers, for Garnish
Preparation: For syrup – 1 cup water, 3 tea bags. Boil water, steep tea for 5 minutes, remove bags, reduce by 50 percent, add equal parts (by weight) sugar. Make sure the tea syrup is super-flavorful, borderline tannic and bitter. For drink -.Gently muddle leaves in glass with syrup and lemon juice. Add rum, soda, and ice. Stir and garnish with 2-3 leaves.
Courtesy of Giovanni Martinez, Sadie, Los Angeles
Sometimes, all you need is a little Caribbean twist in your Mojito to add a little zest to your drink. Giovanni Martinez uses Havana Club 3 as the base and finishes it off with the Jamaican grapefruit soda Ting for that extra tang. He insists that the Mojito is a great drink, but because of its popularity, it’s gotten a bad rap since the end product is often over-muddled, resulting in a bitter profile. “Lime peel and beaten up mint aren’t great,” observes Martinez.
- 2 oz. Havana Club 3
- 3/4 oz. Lime Juice
- 3/4 oz. Simple Syrup
- 1 oz. Ting Grapefruit Soda
- 4 Leaves of Mint
Preparation: Muddle mint. Add Havana Club 3, lime juice, and simple syrup and swizzle. Add Ting to float on top.
BACARDÍ® Limón™ Mojito
Courtesy of Bacardi
Bacardi provides us with a Mojito variation using their Limón rum and spearmint leaves for a cocktail that highlights lemon notes over lime. It’s a great way to take your Mojito to the next level by using ingredients that perfectly complement Bacardi Limon.
- 1 1/2 parts BACARDÍ® Limón™
- 12 Fresh Spearmint Leaves
- 1/4 Lime, Sliced
- 1/4 Lemon, Sliced
- 2 tbsp. Simple Syrup (or 4 tsp. Sugar)
- Top off with Club Soda
Preparation: Muddle mint leaves, lime, and lemon in a tall glass. Cover with simple syrup and fill glass with ice. Add BACARDÍ® Limón™ and club soda; stir well. Garnish glass with lime wedge and sprigs of mint.
Benton Park Swizzle
Courtesy of Juan Sevilla, Big Bar at The Alcove, Los Angeles
The Benton Park Swizzle has been a favorite at Big Bar at The Alcove since their first menu, created by Juan Sevilla, Dan Long, Rich Andreoli, and Mia Andreoli. It carries quite a bit of nostalgia as it reappears on their menu from time to time, and is fondly remembered as the Mojito whereby many of its current bartenders learned to swizzle. The Fernet float tempers the acid from the lime, yet works perfectly with the muddled mint.
- 2 oz. Rhum Clement Rum or Bacardi 1909
- 1 oz. Lime
- 1/2 oz. Simple Syrup
- 1/4 oz. Fernet Branca, Float on Top
- 1 Brown Sugar Cube
- 6-8 Mint Leaves, for Muddling and Garnish
Preparation: Muddle mint and sugar cube in a Collins glass. Build remaining ingredients in glass with crushed Ice. Float Fernet. Garnish with mint.
Courtesy of Gaby Mlynarczyk, Birch, Los Angeles
Gaby Mlynarczyk of Birch does a fantastic job creating cocktails that are original and sometimes exotic. Here, she rebuffs the Mojito’s reputation as “a tacky, sugary drink with little taste that left you with an enormous hangover” by re-tooling her cocktail with quality ingredients. She uses agricole rhum for its grassier flavor and couples it with Floc de Gascogne (a blend of grape juice and Armagnac), which is ideal for offering fruity sweetness without too much sugar. Nasturtiums add a peppery flavor and the peas have a sweetness that compliments the agricole. Together, they make for a clever substitute for the mint, as both grow abundantly in Gaby’s back yard.
- 1 1/2 oz. Rhum Agricole (Such as JM or Clement)
- 1 oz. Floc de Gascogne
- 1 oz. Fresh Lime Juice
- 1/2 oz. Demerrera Simple Syrup
- 2 Dashes Angostura Bitters
- 6 Nasturtium Leaves, for Muddling
- 1 Pea Tendril
- Nasturtium Flower for Garnish
- Pea Tendril and Pea Half, for Garnish
Preparation: Muddle nasturtium leaves with simple syrup for two seconds only or they will get bruised, the action of shaking will do the remainder of the muddling. Add remaining ingredients and shake with five ice cubes for five seconds. Dump into a chilled highball glass, add more ice to fill glass, and top with soda water if needed garnish with pea half, pea tendril, and nasturtium flower.