The weekend is approaching and we’re in need of a little tipple. Yesterday was our twins’ 15th birthday and I’m still depressed about it. Mojitos are my go-to libation when I feel a cocktail is in order. It requires no fancy tools, no complicated recipe, and nothing that you wouldn’t have on hand in your pantry.
What Do Mojitos Taste Like?
Mojitos are a highball cocktail of Cuban origin- as most of the great rum drinks are. My main man Ernest Hemingway is said to have indulged (profusely) in these lime-heavy libations. If they’re good enough for Papa Hemingway, they’re good enough for us.
Miami is the first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they hear “mojitos”. I, on the other hand, believe that Puerto Rico makes the best version of this drink. Why? Well, because instead of floating soda water on top, they float lemon-lime soda. The additional citrus flavor makes the cocktail more crisp, in my opinion. If you’re not a fan of loads of citrus, I’ll give alternatives a little further on.
Let’s get to it.
How Do You Make a Mojito From Scratch?
It’s actually a really easy recipe to make from scratch! In fact, I’ve seen those pre-made mojito mixes in the liquor store and they don’t look appetizing at all.
Because this is a rum cocktail, you’ll need a good, quality rum like Bacardí Superior. A muddle of turbinado sugar and fresh mint leaves are what makes this cocktail unique. If you don’t have turbinado, you can use granulated sugar instead. Lime juice is another prominent flavor, so be sure not to take shortcuts with that bottled stuff. Finally, a float of lemon-lime soda. If you want to cut down on the sugar, you can go the traditional route and use plain soda water or seltzer.
How Do I Muddle Without A Muddler?
I’m so glad you asked that!! You know why? Because I, too, had to figure out how to muddle my mint leaves and sugar without a muddler. I own one, I do. In fact, I own THREE. But, again, I’m living in a traphouse while we build our forever home, so all three of my muddlers are buried in storage somewhere.
So, I improvised like any self-respecting hustler does. I used a honey dipper. Funny, yes. Ratchet? Again, yes. But, guess what? It worked like a charm.
You can also use things like a tart press, a pestle, or- as a last resort- a handle of a sturdy wooden spoon. Or, like my barbarian of a husband suggested when I asked him, “The clean handle of a screwdriver.” Don’t use that.
What’s the Best Mint For Mojitos?
Regular spearmint or apple mint leaves are the best variety to use in this cocktail. Peppermint is the next best if you can’t get your hands on spearmint. Chocolate mint will make the drink too “warm” so to speak. It’ll befuddle the bright flavor we’re aiming for. Pennyroyal mint is toxic, so don’t even think about using that.
In a sturdy vessel, muddle the turbinado and mint leaves with your preferred muddler- not the screwdriver handle. You want the muddled mixture to look syrupy and smell minty.
What If I Don’t Have Mint?
If you are out of mint, you can mimic the mint flavor with mint extract. In this case, however, you’re going to need to use two dashes of peppermint extract, not wintergreen. You can add mint bitters instead, but I feel like you’re less likely to have that if you don’t have fresh mint. It is an option, though.
As a last resort, swap out the mint for any other herb you do have: fresh basil would be excellent in this cocktail. Runners up which I’d recommend are rosemary or cilantro. Just use the same amount called for in the original recipe.
What is the Best Rum for Mojitos?
The best rum to use in mojitos is a white rum. Anything darker, and you’re going to muddle the crisp flavor we’re trying to achieve in the drink. I use Bacardí because it’s one of the most popular rums in Puerto Rico. It’s a Cuban-born rum, too, which makes it perfect for this Cuban cocktail.
Pour a cup of ice into your cocktail shaker and add the white rum and the sugar-mint mixture you just muddled.
Can I Use Bottled Lime Juice in Mojitos?
Remember, the lime and mint are the prominent flavors in mojitos. As a result, you need to use the freshest ingredients you can. Bottled lime juice doesn’t have the same punch that fresh lime juice has.
Pick limes that feel heavy for their size. Press them a little: if they give under pressure from your thumb, they’re going to juice well. If, on the other hand, they’re rock hard, toss them back into the produce bin. They’re not going to give you a lot of juice.
Roll the limes between the palm of your hand and the countertop to break up the inner fibers. This releases more juice from the lime when you squeeze them.
Add that fresh lime juice to the rum-mint mixture in the cocktail shaker and shake it vigorously until the shaker frosts over.
What Kind of Soda Goes Into Mojitos?
Normally soda water is used in mojitos. But, we’re making Puerto Rican mojitos, so we’re going to use lemon-lime soda. In hotels and bars in PR, this is the go-to floater for these cocktails.
If you’re not a fan of lemon-lime soda, you can use soda, seltzer, or even tonic water.
After shaking the rum mixture, strain it into your ice-filled highball glasses. Pour the lemon-lime soda to top it. Leave a 1/4″ headspace so you can stir the mixture without spilling any.
How Do I Make Virgin Mojitos?
If you want to make these Puerto Rican mojitos alcohol-free, just omit the rum. You may want to replace the rum with plain soda water to cut the lemon-lime soda as well. The lemon-lime soda is a hit with my kids, though. You know, the ones who just turned 15?
Speaking of my children growing old and leaving me to die alone…I need a few of these mojitos right now. Excuse me.
Pin this recipe to your drinks board and share it with your friends and family.
Puerto Rican Mojitos
Use fresh mint and lime juice to create this bright, crisp cocktail.
- 1 tablespoon turbinado sugar
- 12 mint leaves
- 1 1/2 ounces white rum
- 3 ounces lime juice
- lemon-lime soda or soda water, to float
In a cocktail shaker, muddle the turbinado and mint leaves. The mixture should look syrupy and smell minty.
Add a cup of ice to the cocktail shaker, followed by rum and lime juice.
Shake the cocktail shaker vigorously until the shaker frosts over.
Garnish your cocktails with fresh mint and/or lime wheels. Serve immediately and enjoy responsibly.
To make virgin Puerto Rican Mojitos just use soda water in place of the rum.
- 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
- 3 bunches fresh mint leaves
- 1 cup white rum
- 2 cups lime juice
- 1 liter lemon lime soda
Muddle or pulse the mint and sugar in a blender. Mix with the rum and lime juice and strain into a pitcher. Serve over ice and float the soda as desired.