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What is a Mojito?

Tricia Christensen
Updated May 16, 2024
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The mojito is the national drink of Cuba, which many claim was invented in the late 19th century. Actually, the rum drink, flavored with lime and mint may date to a much earlier origin. Some say that the “pirates” of old, may have concocted drinks similar to the mojito, perhaps in the 16th century. The earliest mojito may have been a combination of a rum variant, aguardiente, and that swashbucklers of old like Sir Francis Drake, who might have called the drink “The Dragon,” or El Draque, introduced the drink to Cuba.

In the US, especially since travel to Cuba is very difficult, the mojito was often thought of as a new invention in the 1980s, but its history far predates that. It became an intensely popular drink in the US, and then people’s favor for the drink died down considerably. In the 2000s the mojito began to enjoy a resurgence in popularity and it remains an oft-ordered drink at bars across the US. Companies like Bacardi® have made the most of people’s enjoyment of the cocktail by advertising themselves as “the” rum to be used in all mojitos.

The basic mojito recipe is a combination of the following:

Many suggest that sugar cane juice is most authentic, and for the freshest taste, limes should be freshly juiced rather than using lime juice. If sugar is used it should be dissolved into the lime juice. Some recipes advocate adding about a dozen mint leaves at this point in the process and “muddling” them, or mixing them with a pestle to dissolve the sugar. Further, instead of juicing the lime, Bacardi suggests using slices of a lime half in the muddling process.

After you either mix or muddle your ingredients, you add rum, and soda water. The mix is about one part rum to three parts soda. The drink should be served on the rocks in a tall glass, and you can garnish the mojito with mint, lime, or both if you’d like. Drink historians claim that the early mojitos were enjoyed because of their refreshing quality, and it is true that mint and lime together do mask the taste of the rum to a degree and are refreshing to the palate. Some people, however, don’t care for the taste and refer to the drink as similar in taste to mouthwash.

DelightedCooking is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen , Writer
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.

Discussion Comments

By aviva — On Jul 03, 2011

@ladyjane - Fresh spearmint leaves are what's in the traditional mojitos recipe along with guarapo or simple syrup and clear rum like Havana Club, which is preferred but a couple of good substitutes are Bacardi Superior Light or Captain Morgan's Silver.

If you can't find the sugar cane juice in your area then you can create a mojito simple syrup by heating equal parts of water and sugar. Keep Stirring the mixture constantly until the sugar is completely dissolved (no crunches in mojitos) but DO NOT let it come to a boil.

Once the mixture is ready throw in a handful of fresh spearmint leaves and let the flavors fuse together for about an hour or so. Strain the leaves from the syrup and then it's ready for use.

By Sierra02 — On Jul 03, 2011

@ladyjane - Celebrating your husband's fiftieth birthday Cuban style sounds like a really fun idea. I hope you live in a warm climate or that his birthday is during the warmer months of the year because the tropical nations are pretty warm all year round.

Anyway, besides the proper attire you might have some difficulty locating guarapo or pure sugar cane juice unless you live near Miami, Florida or outside the United States.

You might have some luck searching for suppliers of guarapo over the Internet or possibly your local health foods market will have it.

By ladyjane — On Jul 02, 2011

Similar to Ernest Hemingway, my husband has always had this strange fascination with Cuba. I would love to throw a Cuban themed party for him next year on his fiftieth birthday.

I've bookmarked several websites that sell Caribbean themed party supplies and decorations. What I'm looking for now is the best mojito recipe that uses only authentic mojito ingredients.

Does anyone know how to make a mojito Cuban style? And if sugar cane juice really is the sweetener they use, where can I purchase it at?

Tricia Christensen

Tricia Christensen


With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a DelightedCooking contributor, Tricia...
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