Puerto Rican Mojitos are a refreshingly citrusy and effervescent rum drink that’s perfect for hot weather or enjoying a happy hour cocktail at home. This easy Puerto Rican drink will take you to the streets of Old San Juan with just one sip.
*This post was originally published in July 2020. I’ve updated it to include metric measurements.*
What Are Puerto Rican Mojitos?
An authentic Puerto Rican mojito is similar to the Cuban drink in that it contains light rum, brown sugar (or simple syrup), fresh mint, and soda (be it water or actual soda). The Puerto Rican recipe differs in that it replaces club soda with citrus soda and contains Puerto Rican rum instead of Cuban rum.
Where Did Mojitos Originate?
Mojitos are a classic Cuban cocktail. Ernest Hemingway knew his way around a mojito cocktail, or so I’ve read. Because the Caribbean island is known for its warm weather, the fresh ingredients in this Cuban classic make a delicious cocktail to refresh folks on a hot day.
Now Miami is the first thing that comes to most people’s minds when they think of a Cuban mojito. The Cuban people migrated, bringing the perfect summer drink with them.
Puerto Ricans make the best mojito. At least, I think so. We float crisp lemon-lime soda on top instead of plain soda water. The additional citrus flavor makes the cocktail a more refreshing drink.
How Do You Make Puerto Rican Mojitos?
To make this Puerto Rican mojito recipe, you need a good quality silver rum (also called light rum), and preferably a Puerto Rican rum like Don Q. A Cuban rum like Bacardí Superior is a good replacement if you can’t find Don Q. You also need ice cubes, fresh lime juice, turbinado sugar, fresh mint leaves, and crisp lemon-lime soda. You can use granulated sugar instead if you don’t have turbinado sugar. Go the traditional route and use plain soda water or seltzer for a less sugary cocktail. Or, swap the light rum for an amber rum like Ron del Barrilito for a mojito with a more prominent flavor of rum.
A Collins glass (also known as a highball), a muddler, and a cocktail shaker are the only tools you need to create this rum cocktail.
What’s the Best Mint to Use?
Regular spearmint or apple mint leaves are the best variety to use in mojito recipes. Peppermint is the next best option.
You can mimic the mint flavor with peppermint extract or omit it altogether if you don’t have fresh mint leaves. Another option is to use a dash or two of mint bitters or replace the mint with a different herb, like fresh basil, rosemary, or cilantro. Just use the same amount called for in the original recipe. I don’t think we can still call it a classic mojito if we’re using other herbs, though, but who cares.
What If I Don’t Have a Muddler?
Add the rum, turbinado sugar, and a mint sprig to a cocktail shaker. The sugar dissolves with the muddler’s friction and with the rum’s help. Muddle the mint until you can smell its fragrance. The final mixture will look syrupy, and the mint will be crushed.
As a military wife, I often had to muddle my sprig of mint and sugar without a muddler. This was one of those times, so I had to muddle my mint in a small glass so my honey dipper could reach.
You can muddle mint with a honey dipper, a tart press, a pestle, or- as a last resort- a handle of a sturdy wooden spoon.
How Do I Mix the Mojitos?
Pour a cup of ice into your cocktail shaker with the sugar mixture. Or, add the white rum and the sugar-mint mixture you muddled if you had to improvise as I did.
Add fresh lime juice to the rum-mint mixture in the cocktail shaker and shake it vigorously until the shaker frosts over.
Because lime and mint are the prominent flavors in mojitos, using the freshest, natural ingredients make the difference between a good Puerto Rican mojito and one that’s just so-so. Avoid lime juice in the bottle if you can. If not, choose a high-quality product with as few sulfites or preservatives as possible. Add more ice to two tall glasses and strain the shaken rum mixture into them, dividing the mixture equally. Pour the lemon-lime soda to top it, leaving a 1/4″ headspace so you can stir the mixture without spilling any.
You can replace lemon-lime soda here with soda water, seltzer, tonic water, or grapefruit soda.
Garnish your mojitos with a lime wedge, a sprig of mint, or both to finish this tropical drink.
How Can I Switch Up the Flavor of My Mojitos?
You can swap the lime juice in your mojitos for lemon juice or pineapple juice. To create a coconut mojito, add a bit of coconut milk to the glass after you strain the rum mixture into the glasses. This will give you a mojito that has a coconut-lime vibe.
If you want to use pineapple juice and coconut milk in this recipe, you may as well scrap it and make my Piña Colada recipe instead.
How Do I Make Virgin Puerto Rican Mojitos?
To make virgin Puerto Rican mojitos, omit the rum. Replace the rum with plain soda water to cut the sweetness of the lemon-lime soda. Kids prefer the sweeter version, however.
Take a sip of Puerto Rico with this easy cocktail. Your taste buds will agree with me when I say these Puerto Rican Mojitos are sure to be the best part of your cocktail hour. Pin this recipe to your drinks board and share it with your friends and family.
Puerto Rican Mojitosat Sense & Edibility
- cocktail shaker
- 1 tablespoon (15 grams) turbinado sugar
- 12 (or 1 bushy sprig) mint leaves
- 1/4 cup (2 ounces or 60 milliliters) white rum
- 1/3 cup (3 ounces or 85 milliliters) lime juice
- lemon-lime soda or soda water, to float
- mint sprigs
- lime wedges or slices
Muddle the Mint Leaves with the Rum and Sugar
- In a cocktail shaker, muddle the turbinado and mint leaves. The mixture should look syrupy and smell minty.
Shake the Mojitos Vigorously
- 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.
Swaps and Substitutions:
- You can use granulated sugar instead if you don't have turbinado sugar.
- Mimic the mint flavor with peppermint extract or omit it altogether if you don't have fresh mint leaves.
- Use a dash or two of mint bitters or replace the mint with a different herb, like fresh basil, rosemary, or cilantro.
- Swap the light rum for an amber rum like Ron del Barrilito for a mojito with a more prominent flavor of rum.
- Replace lemon-lime soda with soda water, seltzer, tonic water, or grapefruit soda.
- You can swap the lime juice in your mojitos for lemon juice or pineapple juice.
- To create a coconut mojito, add 2 tablespoons of coconut milk to each glass after you strain the rum mixture into them.
- Regular spearmint or apple mint leaves are the best variety to use in mojito recipes. Peppermint is the next best option.
- You can muddle mint with a honey dipper, a tart press, a pestle, or- as a last resort- a handle of a sturdy wooden spoon if you don't own a muddler.
- For the best mojitos, avoid using bottled lime juice if you can. If it's unavoidable, choose a high-quality product with as few sulfites or preservatives as possible.
- To make virgin Puerto Rican Mojitos just use soda water in place of the rum.
Pitcher Mojitos (Serves 8):
- 1/4 cup turbinado sugar
- 3 bunches fresh mint leaves
- 1 cup white rum
- 1 1/2 cups lime juice
- 1/2 liter lemon-lime soda