Do’s and Don’ts of Mojito making, part two

What’s the definition of when you know somebody TOO well? I’m not too sure, but after last night I’ve some idea. I’d say that Tina and I know eachother too well when she can text me saying, I’ve just rounded this and that corner on my way to your place and I go, oh, judging by the length of her legs, that means I should start making Mojitos now.. And then have a couple ready by the split second she enters the room.

Yes, freaky, I know, but sure made her happy. Tina sure loves her mojitos.. And mine apparently. Actually, she, quite surprisingly, fessed up last night that even having traveled the world and tried Mojitos from anywhere from Øster Lindet through Paris to Bangkok, mine were still her favorite!

Which, honestly, pisses me off! Not because I don’t think it’s an insanely sweet and honest compliment to come up with.. More because of the fact that, fuck.. If I can do it, anybody can! Especially a well-paid bartender in some upscale bar on the other side of the globe! A Mojito is not a difficult drink to produce and you certainly do not need to be a top-notch mixologist to mix one up. Yet, some of the most frequent search terms on my blog are “premade mojito” and “mojito mix”.. Friends.. Please.. Stop!

Okay, apparently my first post did not have much success in conveying the message, sp lets recap, then.. Shall we? But first things first, credit where credit is due: I owe Jeffery Morgenthaler some credit for his initial inspiration, and I also owe Scotte a lot of credit on his tireless work of comparing rums and finding the best for the job, his dedication has inspired countless experiments of my own.

With that out of the way, lets have a look at the DONT’s of Mojito-making.. These should be pretty simple rules, but I do suspect it’s where a lot of people go wrong:

  • Do not use bottled lime juice for a Mojito, this is a carnal sin in Mojito-making and drink culture in general! Use fresh limes and squeeze them as needed! Nothing rivals the taste of freshly squeezed lime juice.
  • Do not over-muddle the mint. It will turn into mush and destroy the flavor profile.. As over-bruising or chopping of any fresh herb will do.
  • DO NOT use Bacardi White rum in a Mojito!! I can not stress this enough. This is, sadly, a common mistake that will more than likely get you shot in certain parts of the world.
  • Do not use crushed ice in a Mojito, it waters everything down and well, we don’t want that.
  • Do not expect to be able to fix a Mojito in anything less than a couple of minutes, another common mistake of some chain restaurant bartenders.

Additional notes on rums for Mojito-making: Did I mention not to use Bacardi? Good! I know fully well that Bacardi is a CHEAP alternative, but that doesn’t mean it’s a GOOD alternative. A good third of a proper Mojito (not counting ice) is rum, so make it a good rum. I suspect a good reason why many Mojitos taste like crap is because a bad rum was used and as such more sugar, more juice or ungodly amounts of mint is used to disguise the taste. You do not want to disguise the taste of the rum in a Mojito, so get the good stuff. Preferably the good Cuban stuff such as (at the very least) a Havana Club Anejoo Bianco. If you live in a part of the world where politics rule more than common sense and you are unable to get Havana Club, Scotte suggests that Ron Matusalem Platino works well as a substitute. My personal favorite is Havana Club Añejo 3 Años so that’s what you’d get in a Mojito at my house.. Basically that’s pretty much my go-to mixer for recipes that call for white rum. I’ve tried premium aged rums as well, adding ice and sugar to premiums turned out to be a bit of an insult to all things rum.

Okay, with that out of the way (Who said “geek?”).. Here’s 11 simple steps to producing a Mojito cocktail:

  • Grab a glass and chill it either by adding ice to it while mixing or sticking it in the freezer(*).
  • Grab your shaker.
  • Squeeze half a lime into the shaker and throw the spent hull in as well.
  • Muddle gently, as you do, add a good pinch of (cane) sugar or a splash of simple syrup(**)
  • Add a large sprig of spearmint and keep muddling gently, bruising the leaves, not turning them into mush.
  • Add 2 oz of good, white rum.
  • Add ice cubes.
  • Shake vigorously.
  • Top with 3 oz of sparkling water.
  • Evacuate serving glass from freezer, or dump ice from said glass, strain Mojito into said glass.
  • Sip slowly!

* – As regards glassware, I’m sure there’s some sort of convention to this.. Me, I like my Mojito without extra ice, so I use a chilled Martini glass. If you wanna serve it over ice cubes, you’d wanna use a high ball or old-fashioned glass, I guess.

** – Sweeteners in Mojitos is something that’s been discussed for ages and probably will continue to be discussed for ages to come. Simple syrup, white sugar, cane sugar, sweet-n-lo (just kidding there)? Some argue that sugar granuals are needed to draw essential oils from the zest of the lime during muddling, others argue that simple syrup is needed because sugar will not dissolve properly.. I’ve tried both approaches and, in the words os late Clark Gable: “Frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn!” .. Just do yourself a favor and use cane sugar or similar over the processed white stuff if you chose not to use syrup.. And if you use syrup, use a little less than you would ordinary sugar..

And that’s it, really, you can disregard the nerdy rants on sugars and rums as long as you promise me not to use Bacardi.. Apparently this way, too, you can produce a better Mojito than the bartenders of Bangkok 😉

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