Mojitos: Debunking the Myths

Mojito, the drink of Hemingway.  Or is it?

There is a small plaque hanging in El Floridita in Havana with this Hemingway quote:

                                                                                My mojito in La Bodeguita,

                                                                                My daiquiri in El Floridita.

The quote is signed Ernest Hemingway, so it must be true. Right?


The ever-knowledgeable and witty Philip Greene exposes the truth in The Myth Behind Hemingway’s Favorite Drink.)

I struggle with what is real anymore.

I have seen bartenders in both Little Havana (South Beach) and big Havana (Cuba) make what they call classic or authentic or real mojitos, yet I have never seen them done the same way. How can that be?

What seems to be consistent, however, is the ingredients. Well, sort of. Mojitos all have mint, white rum, and lime juice. But there are some variations of what the sweetener should be—powdered sugar, granulated sugar, sugar cubes, honey syrup, simple syrup, agave nectar…

And then there is the technique, which every blogger, imbiber and mixologist swears is the right way to muddle or stir or shake or swirl…

Everyone has his or her own recipe and his or her own technique that is THE BEST EVER. The bottom line? It is ultimately up to you to decide what is best for you, right? Cause if you ain’t happy, ain’t  no one happy. You do you.  

So here I offer not rules but guidelines (and notes) for the BEST MOJITO EVER:

    • Part of the craft is in the muddling. You want to gently bruise the mint, not annihilate it. Use the end of a wooden spoon—OR a tool call a muddler, if you’re fancy—-and press firmly until you release that delicious mintiness.
    • The grittiness of granulated sugar helps to release the oil from the mint.
    • That being said, I prefer using simple syrup or agave nectar because sometimes the sugar doesn’t dissolve.
    • Even if your agave is golden light, it may affect the color of your mojito.
    • Using freshly squeezed lime juice is non-negotiable. I promise I am not trying to create more work for you; you will thank me for insisting that you use the real stuff.
    • The recipe below calls for a lot of lime juice because that’s the way I like my mojitos. Modify this recipe to your liking.  You do you.
    • Topping with a splash of club soda gives it a little zip.
  • Adding other fruits will create fun variations to the traditional mojito. Try pomegranates, berries, or many of these which I had not even thought of.

The best mojito is the way you like it. Remember: you do you.



I’d love to hear about YOUR BEST MOJITO. Leave a comment and tag your photo with #nakedepicurean so I can celebrate with you!  

The BEST Mojitos   (for 4)


    • 1   cup fresh mint leaves (set some aside for garnish)
    • ⅓  cup simple syrup or agave nectar
    • ¾  cup white rum
  • 1   cup fresh lime juice

          ice cubes


          club soda


    1. Muddle the mint in the bottom of 4 glasses.
    1. Add syrup, rum, lime juice, and lots of ice to a large cocktail shaker. Shake vigorously.
    1. Pour into glasses. Top with a splash of club soda.
    2. Garnish with slices of lime and sprigs of mint.
  1. Enjoy!

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