The Real Mojito Recipe
Because of a half-century embargo against Cuba, the Mojito is one of the most misunderstood drinks around. I'm not sure how this drink even managed to achieve the fad status it has enjoyed in the US for the past several years.
I have to start by correcting Johnhoff: The Mojito is not "...a drink for peasants." The Mojito comes from La Habana, on of the world's great cities by any definition.
Okay, let's discuss some of the ingredients for this drink. Most important is the rum. In La Habana Mojito's are made with Havana Club white rum. To me, that is the real taste of a Mojito. You will never make a great Mojito using a nasty tasting rum like Bacardi. If I can't get the Havana Club, Don Q Cristal is about the next best thing.
Next, let's talk about sugar. Sugar is king in Cuba. For much of its history sugar was Cuba's entire reason for existing. Sugar in Cuba is not over-processed to death as it is in the US. Our over-processed sugar has a nasty chemical taste to it. Cuban sugar tastes sweeter, and actually has a fruity flavor to it, rather than just a neutral sweetness. And so again, to me, the taste of a great Mojito is inseparable from the taste of Cuba's superior sugar. I recommend using turbinado sugar, which, like the cuban sugar is much less processed, much better tasting, and a bit coarser crystals. Yes, the turbinado sugar is light brown in color and might tint the otherwise clear drink. But the cuban sugar has a bit of color to it as well. In the end, it should be all about taste, rather than photogenic drinks worthy of food porn.
The sugar brings us to the next issue: mint. In La Habana the mint is muddled with the lime juice and the sugar. The coarse sugar granules are essential for releasing the mint's oils. For this reason I absolutely reject any Mojito recipe that uses simple syrup instead of real sugar. Hubby Santa is indeed correct that mint in Cuba is different than in the US (as are so many other things). If I remember correctly, the mint they use for Mojitos is called yerba buena.
Finally: a Mojito contains rum, sugar, lime juice, mint leaf, club soda and nothing else. A drink made using different liquor, additional liqueurs, flavorings, garnishes, etc is not a Mojito. As surely as there is only one way to make a true Martini, there is only one way to make a true Mojito. Beware of menus offering nineteen different "types" of Martinis, or "the largest assortment of Mojitos."
Chow is just as guilty as any other hipster. Look to the right on this page and find the "Satsuma Mojito." While this looks like it might be a wonderful drink, it is definitely not a Mojito.
End the madness!!!