If rum is your favorite potation, the Mojito may become your favorite summertime refresher.
Something of a Mint Julep made with rum, the Mojito is always muddled with fresh mint leaves. Ernest Hemingway drained daiquiris at Havana’s La Floridita, but he quaffed his Mojitos at La Bodeguita del Medio—or so says the sign at La Bodeguita. There is no substantial evidence, however, that Papa ever bellied up to that bar, but he was certain to have nibbled a few of these coolers in his time. La Bodeguita did manage to take this plebeian drink from the hands of the farmers and working class and place it in those of the well heeled. These efforts paid off, and the Mojito became such a Cuban standard during the 1930s and 1940s that it earned such celebrity adherents as Errol Flynn, Nat King Cole, and Lou Costello. The cocktail is enjoying a full-scale revival today. The drink is so crisp and smooth that you may be wondering who’s on first if you don’t keep score of how many you are socking away.
If you know how to make a Mint Julep—and you should—you can muddle up a Mojito. Muddle the entire mint sprig to release the juice from the stem, and add a generous squeeze of lime right before serving. La Bodeguita bartender Jorge Lorenzo Viqueira Lee advises that you follow the ingredient proportions religiously to achieve the harmony of flavors that makes a perfect Mojito. You may also add a dash of bitters.