The mojito is the Cuban national drink, and a combination of rum, mint leaves, sugar, soda water, and lime juice. The drink has gained great popularity in the United States as a refreshing and unusual taste of the tropics. It’s also, like most well known drinks, inspired quite a few variations. Among these is the dirty mojito.
To make a drink “dirty,” means you may slightly change the color and taste by adding or changing some of the essential ingredients. A dirty martini for instance contains olive juice. There are actually several versions of the dirty mojito. One classic is to use raw sugar instead of white granulated. This gives the drink a very slightly tan or “dirty” color.
Another dirty mojito variant advocates the use of brown sugar. This would change the flavor of the drink possibly more than raw sugar. Brown sugar has a slightly caramel, slightly molasses flavor to it that could add greater complexity to the contrasting lime and mint plus rum flavors.
Most “clean” mojitos are made with white rum, so another way to make the dirty mojito is to use a light amber or darker rum instead. This will really change the color, and with the addition of different tasting sugar will result in both color and flavor changes. Honey is another suggested sweetener, though it should be used sparingly to avoid making the drink too sweet.
Like many mojito recipes, dirty mojitos take a little effort to make. Most cocktail enthusiasts suggest muddling, or somewhat crushing the mint, sugar, lime juice and ice together. Others believe if you do this, you end up with what looks like floating grass in your drink. This might well fit with the description of “dirty” however. Once the muddling process is over, the acid in the lime juice helps to pull out the flavor of the oil in the mint. You can also simply let these ingredients sit for a few minutes if you’d prefer to keep the mint leaves intact.
Add rum, typically a one-ounce (.03 liters) serving, and top the drink off with carbonated water. You can alter amounts of mint, sugar, alcohol, lime juice and soda water to make the dirty mojito stronger in flavor, more boozy, sweeter or cooler. Most people evolve their own recipes when they make these at home. As with the clean mojito, the dirty mojito typically is served in a tall glass and can be garnished with a few mint leaves or a slice of lime.