There is nothing I like more than to relax on a hot summer day with a refreshing Mojito. I look forward to the smooth blend of rum, mint, lime, and sugar that when made well is perfection in a glass. I recently found perfection at La Casa Bacardí in San Juan, where you are served two free drinks to accompany the free tour of the distillery. Even better was the concoction served up in the restaurant Raíces (roots) in Old San Juan.
However, it seems that in Philadelphia (not sure about the rest of the country) it is hard to come across a bartender who knows how to achieve perfection, or even greatness, when it comes to this originally Cuban elixir. Instead it is either too sweet, too sour, or there is not enough rum or mint.
You might think that following a recipe would be enough to ensure at least a great taste, but perfection can only be achieved if the mixologist (bartender) actually desires this result and wants to show off their skills. While a recipe is a guideline, it always helps to experiment to discover the right balance of ingredients because depending on the type of rum, sugar, club soda, and mint used it will change.
The original drink was called the Draque, Drak, or Drac after Captain Francis Drake, the head of many pirate ships who plundered South America and the Caribbean around 1586. It was made with aguardiente (the forerunner of rum), mint, lime, and sugar and served for medicinal purposes. The name changed to Mojito when aguardiente was replaced with rum. According to Bacardi’s web site (no offense to all you DonQ lovers), Mojito comes from the African word mojo, which means to place a spell.
My first trip to Puerto Rico was amazing and I would love to go back, but flying down every time I want a perfect Mojito is unfortunately not an option and so the search goes on.
Where have you found perfection or do you prefer to blend your own?
For a more in depth history and recipes go to: