Ahhhhh, the Mojito! Hemingway’s gift to world, via Habana Cuba!
I just returned from Habana. While there, one of our scheduled visits was the El Floridita – one of Hemingway’s most popular haunts, and where he helped create and perfect what the world now calls the “daiquiri.”
But our visit was to try the mojitos, and I walked away having had the hands down BEST mojito that’s ever crossed my lips. NO LIE. This mojito was THE BOMB.
So, back stateside, and trying to rehab my liver, I offer to you a version of the El Floridita mojito sin alcohol (without alcohol, en español).
1 full bar-spoon of sugar
Juice of ½ a lime
1 ½ oz water & rum extract mixture
Big ice cubes
Pour juice from half a lime into a glass. Dissolve one (uno) full bar-spoon of sugar in the juice.
One of great things about Cuban culture is their sugar fields. Every table we sat at had the most wonderful unrefined sugar. This little treat makes their mojitos just a little more flavorful.
So try to use unrefined, or natural sugar, if you have it in the kitchen.
Add a sprig of mint* and muddle.
*(Side Bar: the original recipe calls for hierba beuna, the Spanish name for medicinal aromatic plants.1 The most common is Spearmint. This is interesting, because the historical story on how the mojito came into existence is from a drink Hemingway’s yacht Captain – Greorio Fuentes – would concoct for the writer when Papa wasn’t feeling good. At the bottom is the original recipe2.)
Add 1oz of sparkling water.
And now the kicker……
Add a few drops of bitters! Yep….never heard of that either, but this is something El Floridita does, and it adds a nice kick to the mojito! Still all ingredients together well.
Pour in 1½oz of rum mixture.
I used 1¼oz of water, then added rum extract until I got the rum flavor I was looking for.
You can also use Amoretti Jamaican Rum syrup, and lessen the sugar. Stir.
Garnish with a sprig of mint, and fill glass with large ice cubes.
Top off with more sparkling water.
Using a straw allows the sugar and mint to really come out!
Now, grab a good book, and enjoy, por favor!
The Side Bar
1 1/2 ounces Papa’s Pilar Blonde Rum
1 ounce honey syrup (made from a ratio of 1:1 water to honey)
1 ounce lime juice
4 mint leaves
Add all ingredients to cocktail shaker with ice and shake. Strain into a glass filled with ice. Add sparkling water to shaker. Swirl and pour into drink. Garnish with a mint sprig.