Classic Mojito Recipe Using Fresh Spearmint
The mojito is one of the most refreshing drinks of the summer months. The Cubans made the drink famous over a century ago using their native rum, sugar, and spearmint. Ice and sparkling water are added to today's mojito, which makes it perfect for combating the sweltering heat of summer.
Using fresh mint is a must when assembling the perfect mojito. Selecting sprigs from a mint plant will make or break the flavor of a mojito. Older leaves and leaves that are yet to be fully mature will not provide the refreshing mint flavor that the mojito is accustomed to.
Spearmint was originally used, but many other mints like peppermint, pineapple mint, and orange mint can be used as well. Growing mint is the best and freshest source of mint when making a mojito, and mint can even be grow inside by a windowsill or under artificial lighting.
- 1 oz Lime Juice
- 2 tsp Sugar/Simple Syrup
- 1 sprig Fresh Mint
- 2 oz White Rum
- A Splash Sparkling Water
- Pour an ounce of fresh squeezed lime into a highball glass.
- Add 2 teaspoons of sugar or simple syrup into the lime juice and mix.
- Remove the middle leaves on the mint sprig, tear the leaves in half, and add to the glass. The leaves can also be rubbed on the rim of the glass to enhance the aroma of the drink.
- Gently muddle the mixture of lime, sugar, and mint.
- Add 2 ounces of light rum.
- Fill the glass with crushed or cubed ice.
- Add a splash of sparkling water.
- Garnish with a lime wedge and the remainder of the mint sprig.
Selecting Fresh Mint
Selecting the ideal mint sprig and leaves from a mint plant is essential. The mint gives a very refreshing spark to the mojito, and complements the lime very well.
Pick a sprig of mint that is relatively young, but with broad, juicy leaves. Older leaves will have little flavor, and younger leaves are yet to reach full flavor. Leaves that reside about halfway on the sprig are best used when muddling the ingredients. Mint is a very resilient plant and will regrow new sprigs if one sprig is removed. Nipping off sprigs will also promote a dense, lush mint plant. Without regular nipping of sprigs, the mint stems will become elongated and spindly. Spindly stems often cannot hold their own weight and break. Spindly stems are simply unsightly in an aesthetic sense.
Pairing Mojitos with Food
Mojitos combine well with Caribbean and Latin dishes. The balance of spicy food and refreshing mojitos go hand-in-hand during the summer months. Fajitas, especially steak fajitas, are an overwhelming favorite and are great with a mojito. Caribbean jerk chicken with a mojito is a great balance due to the mojito cooling off the zing of the jerk. Tamales with black bean soup is an easy dish to make that goes great with a mojito. Simple dishes like barbecue pork with spicy sauce pairs great, too.
Appetizers and snack foods such as nachos, chips & salsa, and kebabs are also delicious with mojitos.
Alternative Mojito Recipes
A mojito, like all drinks, has many different ways of preparation. Some prefer not to muddle the mint with the sugar and lime, while others mash the ingredients into a pulp. Sometimes cane sugar is used instead of table sugar or simple syrup. Limes are even substituted for lemons in some recipes.
As long as the drink tastes great to the one who's enjoying it, then who's to say what recipe is truly the "correct" recipe? Mint is really the only ingredient that cannot be absent from a mojito.
Enjoy, and drink responsibly!