The Dos and Donts of Mojitos

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Well, it’s mojito season here in the northern hemisphere, which means it’s time for a little lesson for the novice and experienced mojito drinker alike. Follow these helpful hints, dear reader, and you won’t dare go wrong.

Do use crushed ice in your mojitos. Crushed ice will melt faster, which is a good thing in a drink with such strong flavors. The extra surface area of crushed ice also means a colder drink.

Do not use a pre-made mojito mix out of a bottle. This is one drink you want to do right.

Do use this recipe to make yourself a mojito at home.

Do not over-muddle the mint, or muddle the lime with the ice cubes. These are strictly amateur moves.

Do try Bacardi rum in your mojitos. For many of us, it is the closest thing we can get to real Cuban rum.

Do not use dark or gold rum in your mojitos. They can muddy the flavor tremendously.

Do use bottled mineral water in place of seltzer water. Remember, garbage in, garbage out.

Do not order a mojito when there is a line at the bar. Your bartender is probably not going to put a lot of love into it. In fact, you might get just the opposite.

Do order a mojito when the bar is slow. Your bartender will appreciate having an intricate cocktail to make. And if he/she doesn’t? Fuck ’em.

Do not have ten mojitos tonight. At around 150 calories each, that’s like 1500 calories, there, fatty.

Do order a mojito from a reputable bartender at a reputable bar.

Do not order a mojito at a dance club, sports bar, drink stand, airport bar, OTB saloon, chain restaurant or fraternity house. You’re just going to end up being disappointed.

Do order a mojito on a warm summer evening.

Do not order a mojito when the weather is below 70°F. This is almost as bad as ordering a Bloody Mary after the sun has gone down.

Do slowly sip a mojito and enjoy the way the flavors meld over time.

Do not slurp down a mojito in less time than it took your bartender to make it. You’re probably already on the back burner for ordering it in the first place, and it’s going to be a while before you’re allowed another.

93 Replies to “The Dos and Donts of Mojitos”

  • Bob says:

    I love your tip about not using dark or gold rum in mojitos. That makes sense considering you don’t want to mix the drink so much that the original taste is lost. At that point, you would be drinking some other drink other than a mojito.

  • David Johnson says:

    Thank you for this helpful list, especially the part where you mention to order a mojito on a warm summer evening. In my opinion, it would also be beneficial to order a mojito from a bar that has the right atmosphere for a warm evening. I’ll have to look for different cuban restaurants that serve good mojitos this summer.

  • 9 years after this post was written it is still found on Google and read. That’s great

  • j-swim says:

    I’m always late to the party…

    Harold Mcgee gave a wonderful lecture on what happens when you (essentially) attack herbs a couple years ago. Upon sensing distress the plant releases toxins into its leaves, making them bitter and unpleasantly vegetal, and hopefully acting as a deterrent to future predators. He suggests treating herbs as gently as possible. Unfortunately, if you’re making a mojito you have to get that mint flavor out of the mint and in to the drink. How?

    Dave Arnold suggests nitro-freezing the leaves before shaking them. I don’t have that option at my bar–most don’t– but I’ve done several side by side comparison with muddled vs shaking whole leaves and I’m never going back to muddling. NEVER. I don’t care about tradition, only flavor and muddled mint tastes terrible. To avoid over dilution i use just a couple cold draft cubes and shake for a very brief time– just to get those oils into the drink as quick as possible. Another trick is to add the soda water directly to the tin before I pour over cracked ice. I also add a bunch of whole leaves to the glass and a big sprig on top so you get plenty of minty aromatics with every sip. Cheers

  • seth says:

    I was going to add to this conversation quite late; The type of mint you use can affect the drink quite a lot. Yerba Buena and Spearmint are quite different to grow and to taste. Spearmint is more common and is actually easier to grow, but is less authentic. Yerba Buena has a more herbaceous minty flavor whereas the spearmint has a cleaner, more intense mint. Furthermore, if you are getting away from classics and want to make variations, try chocolate mint, pineapple mint, or lemon mint instead and you will find some very nice subtle variations int he drink.

    Also, if you find that the limes you have are too bitter and your mojito tastes a little bitter, you can do some research on how you are juicing them (You can overpress limes) but you may also find yourself adding more sweetness to counteract the bitterness- in this case, a slice or julienned spear of fresh ginger can reduce the felt sweetness and provide a nice bit of sharpness to the profile. Actually ginger mojitos are amazing and you should try one.

    I also want to weigh in and say that slapping the mint instead of muddling is perfectly fine and you can leave the whole sprig of mint in the glass and have a beautiful presentation and fantastic flavor with no detritus to cloud the drink.

  • Boomshlakkalakka says:

    Good luck finding a bartender nice enough to make you a Mojito with crushed ice! Not saying you ain’t gone find one just saying they’re hard to find in America. I have a favs spot in Laguna Beach where I go specifically for a crushed ice mojito. I’d lived in Japan where it’s just common to use crushed . Came back home spoiled!

  • Edward says:

    If you change rum for another spirit, will you still name the cocktail “mojito” in any way?

  • Paolo Brien Gonzales says:

    Can I drink Mojitos tequilla without any ingredients ..? Sorry for my english ..please reply

  • DFeldman says:

    Adding to the various heresies, I made a substitution everyone loved – tonic water instead of soda water. Anyone tried that?

  • Angela M.J. says:

    Was introduced to mojitos in Havana in 2000. Drank them daily in various locales, in and out touristy areas, and out in the countryside too. Down there, these practices applied everywhere:

    — Light rum only. Nothing old, nothing brown or gold or whatever. Light rum.

    — Simple syrup. Never saw a single mixer use solid sugar. (And Cubans use sugar everywhere all the time.)

    — Lots of mint, well muddled, usually with a flat plastic thing. Nothing fancy. And a mint sprig on top when it’s done. No straining. Use a straw if you want to avoid vegetation.

    — Ice cubes, followed by juice squeezed from a big hunk of lime, which is then dropped in the glass.

    — Topped off with soda. Plain old soda water. By the time you got to the point, there wasn’t much room left, so basically a healthy splash.

    That’s it. This is a drink that has been tragically overthought.

  • Lemia says:

    I’m so glad I found this today. Thank You!
    I’m trying to put together a mojito gift basket for a wedding and couldn’t get decent advice on buying a rum at the liquor store. I’ll feel much better prepared when I go back!

    I noticed that you have some recommended tools listed, but not a specific muddler. There seems to be quite a variety between the stainless steel, wood, lacquered wood, and even the designs with a grooved head. Since you mention the importance of not over muddling the mint, which tool is safest/best?

  • I LOVE all your do’s and donts!!! Mojito’s are my favorite drink and I agree NEVER use pre-made mojito mix 😉

  • Christopher James says:

    I’ve had lots of success with the Dark N Stormy Mojito on my drink menus of the past. Obviously its a mash up of the dark n stormy and the mojito.

    1.75 oz Goslings Black Seal Rum
    1.0 oz fresh lime juice
    .75 oz simple syrup
    10-12 mint leaves
    Ginger beer

    Rim the glass being used with the mint leaves and lightly muddle them with the lime juice and simple syrup. Add the goslings, fill the glass 1/2 way with crushed ice and stir until a frost forms. Add desired amount of ginger beer (I prefer about an ounce and a half). Top off with more crushed ice. Garnish with clapped mint sprigs (julep style) and serve with straws. Not only does the mint rim reinforce the mint aroma, if the guest chooses to drink from the glass its a nice surprise of mint. The straw should exceed the height of the mint sprig garnish so if the guest chooses the steaw theyll get a nice waft of mint as they imbibe.

  • Casey says:

    This has been a great thread to read through, but I have to ask the pros here for some help.

    I need to make about two gallons of mojitos. I know it can be done. So, to that end, what is the best and easiest way to accomplish this?

    It can be done. Thanks,

  • Anthony says:


    Actually now I’m wondering if you could make a nice drink with basil instead of mint. In parts of SE Asia there’s yum non alc drinks made with crushed basil leaf and basil seed. It’s kind of minty but with an aniseed hit. Like Thai basil.

  • Eric Lecours says:

    ciao jeffrey, you mentioned the following above, “Do use bottled mineral water in place of seltzer water. Remember, garbage in, garbage out.”

    i think i’m missing something. why is seltzer (soda) water inferior and mineral water better?

    btw, we carry a great italian mineral water at the restaurant but the sparkling version is only lightly sparkling, i.e. frizzante.

    cheers, eric

  • Cheryl says:

    As summer approaches I stumbled on this article about mojitos and had (as did many others in the thread) a couple of opinions. I start by making a mojito base (quantities dependent on how many I am anticipating making)- in a bowl I put the sugar, squeeze the limes (and scraping some of the pulp in, no rind or pith) and add the mint. Then I muddle the heck out of everything to make a syrupy paste. Usually there is enough lime juice to make it pourable, if not, add a smidge of water, just enough so you can strain it. That can go in the fridge to sit awhile and infuse.

    When the time comes to assemble the drinks, I get the (clear) glasses and put in ice cubes, 1-2 thin slices of lime (totally for visual), 2-3 mint leaves (visual) and then a shot of rum. I strain the mojito base and put about 2 shots in each glass. Top off with Pellegrino. Then I try to arrange the lime and mint so they are dispersed through the glass. Garnish with a tiny minut sprig. To me, the mojito should be as visually refreshing as it tastes- barest hint of a greenish color, the cool green lime slices and mint leaves floating in the glass- those should all combine so that when you see your mojito you think, “Wow, I didn’t know I was that thirsty!” and then you take a sip and the taste matches perfectly with the refreshment that you expected just from seeing the drink.

    Yeah, I’m a little in love with mojitos. They aren’t bad as a virgin drink either. My daughter came up with a variation that sounds uber-exotic, but it’s not-it’s a member of the mint family and citrus, but this time it’s basil and OJ (and pellegrino/ice). I did not try that with rum, so I can’t vouch for it as an alcohol cocktail, but the flavor combo is fantastic and it just sounds impressive, bc it sounds like your going to be drinking spaghetti or Italian food (since basil is usually considered a savory). I bet a pastis or anisette would be yummy with that- use fennel fronds as the garnish and it’s like a sweeter, drinkable fennel-orange salad…

  • Robert says:

    I recognize the heresy, but suggest that flavor is flavor. I like dark, aged rums. As with most things, quality in, quality out. Mint is a strong flavor, why try to force a white rum to match up with it? Again, I admit I like flavor, and sometimes subtlety is lost on me. My only concern is wasting a really good rum (a single cube is usually good) on a mixed drink. But, when it comes to mojitos, I am willing to risk it.

  • Loren says:

    I think a good clarification on the muddling issue would be to suggest focusing all muddling efforts on the stalks and leaving the leaves as intact as possible. The juice is in the stalks and as mentioned above, muddling the leaves breaks them up, makes them less attractive, and results in greenery amidst your teeth. Unfortunately, many bartenders don’t know this, but this was something that the best bartenders that I encountered in Havana, Cuba over my five visits have stressed… and after tasting literally hundreds of them there and elsewhere, I must agree with them.

  • geo says:

    For a tasty addition, we throw in a shot of St Germain into the mix. YUM!

    I’m going to have to try the S.Pellegrino, currently we use Schweppes Club Soda & were considering making our own because $4.99/6pk is putting a dent in the old bank account, as we love us some tasty mojitos.. ; )

    Will also try muddling the mint less, though I predict I will miss the stronger mint flavor. I’m willing to try, though..

    Thanks for the tips, Jeffrey!

  • Chris says:

    At the risk of herersy, a friend got me a bottle of mango flavored rum. I only drink rum in mojito. Not wanting to offend the charming lass, we mixed mango mojito. It was a nice departure from the usual.

    And yes, I mix mojito in winter; to thumb my nose at the blizzard outside. Not only that, I sip my mojito while enjoying a nice cigar out in the cold. Any takers?

  • Didi says:

    Having read this advice as well as most of this hompage (thanks for the Tonic recipe!!!) I’d like to add some points:

    1) Don’t use crushed ice. Use smallish cubes or cracked ice. A mojito is meant to be rather strong a drink and it should be watered down enough by the soda you are topping it off with.
    2) Don’t throw the hulls in the drink. Nobody does this in Havana (and I’ve been to most of the famous and some not so famous bars there). Furthermore, In a drink that doesn’t call for muddling the limes hard, to release the essential oils, it is IMHO just wasted glass capacity (yes, I know, I’m greedy).
    3) It’s not a no-no, but I’d rather not use simple syrup. Superfine cane sugar dissolves quickly enough, if you stir until the drink is cold enough. The reason is, that a mojito contains relatively little soda water (or should at least). Simple syrup and crushed ice impart non bubbly water into the drink. But since you want to use a good splash of soda, without overdiluting your Mojito, cutting down the non bubbly water you are adding to the drink (i.e. crushed ice and syrup) is a good idea.
    4) I don’t know, what you mean by overmuddling. If that means not to destroy them, so you dont have tiny specks of mint floating in the drink, I’m all for it. But if that means muddling the mint gently, like you would in a mint julep, I’d call that wrong. The bitterness that muddling can get out of the sprigs of the mint is very pleasant in a mojito (kinda like the poor man’s Angostura). As a rule of thumb, I’d say, muddle as hard as possible, without destroying the integrity of the mint leaves.
    5) The advice to use only white rum is somewhat misleading. Technically 3yrs old Havana Club is to be considered an aged rum. Nevertheless it is the standard rum in a mojito against which all others are judged. And I’d opine, that it is the best rum out there for a mojito, since the demise of Matusalem (I mean the real one, not the US version.). Possibly Caney as just as good. (Using somethin like a 7yrs old rum in it is not wrong per se, but it would be called a mojito mulata, instead of just mojito.)

    I apologize for the lengthy post, but it seems to me, that during the long embargo, the US version of the mojito has been subtly changed by bartenders who try to apply what works with the mint julep to the mojito. Thus I wanted to share some feedback based on numerous travels to Cuba (and my own experience trying to reproduce what the best bars in Havana serve).

  • Mike says:


    If you have friends in Mexico you can get Havana Club rum and bring it back. If you can’t get to Mexico, you may want to try Cruzan Mango Rum in your Mojito for a differnt taste treat. While I prefer Barbados rum (Mt. Gay or Doorly’s, taste is a personal thing. If you like Malibu, you are off my list.


  • Bo Darville says:

    I ordered one once and it was made with Malibu and Sprite. They served it in a 20 ounce glass, too. That’s 20 ounces of pure ickery.

  • I have been to a couple of places that make “mojitos” with sprite. Yikes. They are usually the same places that have bud light on draft.

  • Sue says:

    I recently made a mojito martini, just sugar, mint, l/2 lime and dark rum. Amazing, all in a shaker and serve in a sugar rimmed martini glass.

  • will says:

    A great twist on the traditional mojito is to replace the soda water with a sparkling white wine you can use a sweeter one and cut down on the amount of sugar you use. Also I was recently shown an “Infuego” which is a couple pieces of a seeded jalepeno muddled with cilantro sugar and a white tequila.

  • John Eason says:

    How can you have this discussion without mentioning Don Q Cristal or Limon? Here is a recipe that I love and use frequently in demonstrations. BTW…I work for Don Q so I am a bit biased.

    10 mint leaves

    1 rounded tbsp sugar

    1/2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice or 1/2 lime sliced into 3 wedges

    11/2 ounce Don Q Limon

    Splash soda water

    Lemon or lime wedge for garnish

    Place mint, sugar and lime in 12 ounce glass and muddle together

    Fill glass with ice. Add rum. Shake vigorously. Top with splash of soda water.

    Garnish with lemon or lime wedge.

  • Min says:

    i made mojitos with coco-water before but you really take it to another level….carbonate the coco-water, fukn brilliant. Its perfect for home use, but it can easily become an expensive drink if its for commercial purposes, them 100% coconut water packets are not cheap at all. Make sure it says 100% pure coconut, GOYA’s coco is not pure.
    By the way this is the best mojito, i’ve had in my life.

    The seriousness of your mixology really shows in between these efforts you make.

  • Linda says:

    Great recipe.

    Johnathan and who ever else said to add juice….It isn’t a mojito if you make it into fruit punch! Rename your version, please.

  • Todd Appel says:

    I agreed with EVERYTHING except I do like a golden rum with a bit more flavor sometimes…

    definitely not dark…

    with margaritas I would never use a reposado or anejo..but the quality young tequila has so much more flavor than clear rum-vodka so I only use plata

  • Martin K. says:

    Dear Mr. South Beach,
    went there with my wife the other day and ordered Mojito right there on Ocean Dr. Came out in a plastic cup, with two small mint leaves, and a wedge of lime floating around, none of which was muddled. Tasted like someone spilled simple syrup in the “Mojito”. Horrible stuff.

  • William says:

    Good advice.
    But frankly, I see no harm in sipping a Bloody Mary after sundown. Just ask the Brits.

  • Dustin says:

    10 cane is the best IMO. Add a piece of sugar cane stick to your drink and its perfect.

  • Daniel says:

    Great blog roll here. very interesting to hear everyones thoughts on the mojito. i work in a bar where i personally crank out 30-40 mojitos of a friday and sat night and my method is very similar to jeffreys. one thing i do is i slap and put the mint in the highball first, followed by the limes and sugar syrup. then i muddle lightly. the limes are protecting the mint from bruising and tearing while still applying enough pressure to release the essential oils and flavours. add the lime juice, ice and rum (we use havan 3y/o) and stir it up before topping off with soda. hmmmm.

  • Taff says:

    I’m not sure the ice must be crushed and a gold/dark rum version with dark sugar is acceptable (well in Cuba at least), but is certainly heavier in flavour.

    And sugar syrup is OK too. It’s all about your taste and preference I guess but don’t say that it’s “NOT” a mojito if dark rum used, if it’s not with crushed ice etc…

    The key is it must have mint, sugar and rum over ice topped with carbonated water.

    Try a little variation, you may like it.

  • fornetti says:

    I do not believe this

  • To Darcy (comment #13), a traditional mojito as per Hemingway’s interest doesn’t contain bitters, but you can’t say that mojito’s “aren’t” supposed to contain them. Many Havana hotels will add angostura bitters in order to cut the sweetness, it’s not terribly traditional, but it’s not a no-no either.

  • Fran Johnston says:

    Cruzan is the only way to go!

  • According to Wayne Curtis in his book “And a Bottle of Rum”, the drink is called a Mismo.

  • ND says:

    Would that be a Bacardi Highball? (With a gracious nod to, LOL). Do you think Fee’s mint bitters would enhance a Mojito, BTW?

  • Lisa – Not to sound high-and-mighty or anything, but if the bar doesn’t stock fresh ingredients, I don’t bother ordering a drink that requires them. Asking for a substitution for fresh mint is like asking for a substitution for fresh cucumber: such a product simply doesn’t exist.

    Do yourself a favor and skip the mojito when you’re in a dive bar, and order a rum and soda instead. Extra points to the first person who can tell me what this drink is called.

  • Lisa says:

    Mojitos are my favorite but when I am drug (not by choice) to a lower end bar that does not have a stash of mint, what concoction do I describe to the bartender that will get me the closest?

  • Michael Bolick says:

    About the sugar , Its superfine or powdered in the original recipe . and when you muddle if you twist the mint leaves and then muddle in a little lime juice the acid helps release the natural oils.
    I ts all about the type of sugar, mojito’s should be a merky light green.

  • (thank you)
    Whenever I order a drink and witness some horrifying attempt at bartending like the one you described, I always remember to order one additional drink: a beer in a bottle.

    I pay for the whole round, smile, tip the poor bartender that just fumbled through my drink, and leave with both hands full. The cocktail will quickly find itself abandoned on a table or the back of a toilet, and I’ll be enjoying my bottled beer before quietly leaving the establishment.

  • alixium says:

    (love the blog, by the way)
    Reminds me of a mojito horror story of mine: the following happened in a swanky open bar event, in a 5-star hotel. My friends and I are excited about ordering a mojito (should’ve known about the do’s & don’ts!!). The bartender indicates that he rarely did some, but he’ll attempt it for us (bad start). He grabs a highball, drops three mint leaves on the bottom of it, followed by a teaspoon of white sugar (yes! you read well!). He heaps a couple of ice cubes over that, and fills the glass half-way with dark rum. I am speechless at this point. He turns to me and says: – I don’t have club soda anymore, so I’ll just put 7-up. And picks up an already-opened can (which, I will later taste, is totally fizz-less!) and pour to fill the glass.
    The worst drink ever.

  • Drago says:

    Wow, I’ve just been re-treading through your site all day. First at work w/ the Tonic update and now skimming the archives. I have to say it’s my favorite drinks website, keep up the good work. (Though I also like Drink Dogma and The Paupered Chef sometimes has good cocktail posts.)

    It’s funny how everyone has their own spin based on their personal tastebud profiles. I almost never have “light” rum on hand as I think it just doesn’t have much taste until you get to the more expensive brands that I can rarely afford! For mojitos, and just about any other rum concoction, I generally prefer the flavor of a golden rum, such as Appleton Special or (preferably) the Cruzan “Dark” Two-Year. (Which isn’t very dark.) However, I omit almost all of the sugar, just leaving enough to help the muddle, that way we don’t end up with a sickly sweet mess! The rest of your suggestions are spot-on.

    I dread what ten mojitos would do to me…or what my heirs would do with my estate.

  • ND says:

    We do get Havana Club over here, and it really is very good, with all those fruity flavours. However, a worthy variation on the classic IMHO, is to substitute the rum with cachaca… try it and let me know what you think!

  • Nancy

    I’ve never been very comfortable making a gallon of mojitos at a time, because it’s one of those drinks that needs to be built directly in the glass in order to be made properly. How will you dole out just the right amount of liquid and soggy mint into each glass? It seems like more trouble than timesaver.

    Never fear, though, I do have an alternate suggestion for you:

    Pre-mix each mojito in the glass – without the ice and soda water – an hour or two before dinner. Then cover each tightly with plastic wrap and place in the fridge until your guests arrive. When it’s time, even your husband shouldn’t have any trouble filling each glass with ice and topping them with soda water.

    I hope this helps, and I think it should be much easier.


  • nancy says:

    I would like to make mojitos for a small dinner party (8 of us) but since I’m hostess would like to do as much as I can beforehand…what if I made a pitcher of the muddled mints leaves, rum, lime and sugar and then poured this into my guests’ glasses with crushed ice and then added club soda? Thoughts?

    (and my husband would make a terrible bar tender so that is not an option….)

  • Callum says:

    Meant to add – one of the best Mojitos I’ve had the pleasure of tasting was one in Tallinn, Estonia, where the bar used vanilla infused rum.

  • Callum says:

    “Do not order a mojito when there is a line at the bar. Your bartender is probably not going to put a lot of love into it. In fact, you might get just the opposite.”

    Have to disagree with this comment – as the Mojito is by far and away my favourite cocktail, I love making them – and it’s a welcome break from the endless Cosmos and French Martinis ordered by people who wouldn’t know a good cocktail if it slapped them in the face.

  • Jim Rees says:

    I much prefer Havana Club to Bacardi. If I have none on hand I use Flor de Caña.

    I did look into the various kinds of mint. In Havana they use (surprise) Cuban mint (mentha nemorosa), but if you just buy mint at the grocery store you get spearmint (mentha spicata). I can’t find Cuban mint here but I do grow a close relative, apple mint (mentha suaveolens) in my back yard and use that. I did a side by side taste test and they are different. But I can’t swear that you could tell the difference in a mojito, or that one is better than the other.

  • Stef says:

    I made my first Mojito with your suggestions…ummm ummm good.

  • Ryan

    I try to ride this line between attempting to remain very traditional when talking about, making or imbibing cocktails… and not being seen as a snob.

    However, I’m going to have to take the high road on this one and say that I think coconut rum tastes like suntan lotion and should be consumed about as often.

    However, if you’re looking for a coconut-flavored thrill, why not look for some coconut water? I’ve found it at my local asian and latin markets. Once you’ve procured some, it wouldn’t be hard to carbonate it and use it in place of soda water in your mojito.

    Disclaimer: I’ve actually tried this before and it tastes pretty good. Without the suntan lotion flavor.

  • Ryan says:


    Have you ever tried making a Mojito with Bacardi Coco (coconut flavored) Rum? I sent a friend on a mission for white run and he came back with the Coconut flavored stuff. Being a tropical drink, I figured it couldn’t hurt. It seems to really add something to the flavor without over powering the mint and lime.



  • Meemalee, I think agave syrup is a wonderful way to sweeten a mojito. And lower glycemic index, too!

  • meemalee says:

    At home, we’ve started making mojitos with agave syrup.

    Hmmm, sacrilicious …

  • Now, Kevin, you may not care for my recipe, but I do have a hard time believing that the proportions are so foul that everyone in Miami Beach would return the drink. Seriously.

  • Kevin says:

    It’s interesting to see how much everyone thinks they know about mojitos.

    I live in Miami Beach and have been making mojitos for nearly 10 years and I can tell you one thing, there is no such thing as a traditional mojito anymore, and if you made a mojito down here the way you described, it would be returned. Guaranteed.

    You are right about the rum though. White rum, preferably Bacardi, makes the best mojitos.

  • Al says:

    All you Carib rum drinkers out there have missed the very best rum for any drink

    Thats Flor de Cana out of Nicoragua

    Makes a great mojito as well

  • Jimmy says:

    Yeah, good advice…

    I strongly argee with your rules on when to order and when not t order a Mojito…I’ve always viewed it as a drink to be had in the afternoon or on a warm summer night, I view Corona in the same way, drink the light beer when the weather is nice save the stronger dry beers for cold nights and crazy drinking parties.
    I also agree with you on where to order it… My favorte place was a bar in asia that use to go to “La Habana”…Could there be a more fitting pace? No. However many of the women that I would find myself with would insist on ordering Mojitos in the crowed austailian sports bar at midnight…I never understood that.

  • Jeffrey says:


    I’m sure your version tastes great, but we’re talking about a very traditional mojito here and there are a few things you don’t want to do when making a traditional mojito:

    1. Use anything but white rum. Aged rums muddy the color of the drink and bring some funky caramel flavors to the party.

    2. Shake a mojito. Trust me, this is one that wants to be stirred. If you want to crush that ice up, fill a mixing tin with cubes and muddle the hell out of them.

    3. Muddle limes hard. Lime juice is a wonderful thing. Bitter lime oil is not. At least not in this drink.

    4. Add Angostura bitters for color. A mojito should be pale green and clear as a spring day.

    5. Destroy that mint. You want to press the oils out of the leaves, not pulverize the herb into a paste.

    Oh, and do add soda water. Please.

  • David says:

    got to say i use Havana 3yr too. i just think that bacadi has too much of a brittle taste to it.

    i would like peoples critical comments on my method, which is quite different to the one posted be still gives a very nice drink.

    12 mint leave
    3/4 of a lime
    15-20mls gomme syrup
    50mls havana 3yr

    muddle sugar and limes in a glass boston. muddle quite hard to get the oils out of the skin of the lime. loosely tare up the mint leaves and add to glass with the rum. add cubes of ice and shake hard. pour in to collins glass and top with crushed ice heaped on top, sprig of mint and a drop of angostura bitters (not for flavour, for ascetics. it looks cool as it trickles down the extra crushed ice).

    i shake the cocktail because
    a) i believe the ice smashing against mint releases more of the flavour
    b) because i dont have any crushed ice in my bar so shaking breaks up the ice cubes and
    c) because it mixes the drink up evenly.

    i dont add soda as the shaking the drink waters it down enough.

  • Mata says:

    Honey I’m back in Javea, Spain and will definitely make your delicious mojito recipe for my friends THIS weekend! Tell you all about it later…hasta luego guapo!

  • minion says:

    actually, use havanna club rum instead of bacardi if you live somewhere where they are allowed to trade with cuba. bacardy is awfull compared to havana club.

  • Jeffrey says:

    Thanks, Mike.

    I get a lot of “purists” insisting that you should always use granulated sugar rather than – gasp – simple syrup.

    These folks, like Havanamike here, will then direct you to add a splash of water and muddle the sugar with the mint, effectively making…. simple syrup.

    Folks, you can use granulated sugar and end up over-muddling your mint and making a grainy simple syrup, or you can use simple syrup from the get-go and end up with a drink that has a fine, silky texture.

    Your choice.

    But nice list otherwise, Mike!

  • Havanamike says:

    While Jeff’s basic recipe is close to right on, here are a couple of more do’s and don’ts;

    1) DO use yerba buena mint where possible, otherwise use english mint more commonly packaged at your grocer. I don’t order a mojito anywhere unless they have fresh mint. Stems are good too.

    2) Don’t mix in bulk. This drink needs a tall highball glass and lots of love.

    3) DON’T use simple syrups. use two rounded teaspoons of fine-easy disolving sugar. Better yet, use exactly four packets of splenda to cut down on the sugar calories.

    4) DO muddle the mint, lime juice, sugar (or splenda) with a splash of the mineral water for 15-20 seconds. muddle and don’t grind. You are trying to extract the oils from the mint here and not trying to make a smoothie.

    5) DO agree with the above that white Bacardi works best when Havana Club Blanco or 3 yr anejo are not available.

    6) DO share and enjoy.

  • Jeffrey says:

    Hey, everybody! This little discussion of ours has been picked up by Food and Wine Magazine’s Blog.

    As for the caipirinha, I’ll get to that…

  • Mojitos are so yesterday…What are your thoughts on the caipirinha?

  • Scottes says:

    “Do not over-muddle the mint…”

    Yesterday I visited Rumba, a rum bar here in Boston, and watched a young bartender make a Mojito. He was *grinding* the mint, putting his whole body behind the muddler, grinding like he was trying to turn the glass back into sand…

  • Sean Bigley says:

    I still think I’ll go with the white rums myself. I’m not a big fan of vanilla, butterscotch, caramel notes in my Mojito. I only like to use the leaves of the mint. The stems are very bitter and will alter the flavor. As for muddling, I like to press the leaves just enough to release the oils.

    It is great to see all the variations that everyone here uses, though.


  • Dominik MJ says:

    Yeah its Mojito time. I just cannot agree on the “do not use gold rum”. I also prefer white rum (Matusalem Platino is really great – I don’t like the relatively unbalanced flavors of Havana Club Anejo blanco though the best Mojito rum for me is for the moment Angostura 3 years; a slightly smoky white rum).

    But most Cuban bartenders are using Havana Club 3 years for their mojitos nowadays and looks as it goes perfectly fine!

    I also wouldn’t muddle the lime and just bruise but not muddle the mint (whole sprigs).

    Though it is not a classic mojito a Bermuda Luxury “Mojito” is also a hell of a drink: just use Gosling Family Reserve instead of light rum – definitely less refreshing, but deep, complex and just superior!

  • Jeffrey says:

    Dina, I’m just glad I could help.

  • Dina says:

    MMMkay… I swear to the lord… I just came over to your site to ask you about which rum was best for mojitos that I’m making this weekend… and lookit what I found on the main page!! AWESOME! It helps to have the right friends.

    Can’t wait to make ’em.

    Thanks Jeff…

  • Darryl says:

    I like the look of the mint and lime in the drink as well, but since my blender screams bloody murder when I try to crush ice with it, I usually just shake and strain my Mojitos. When topped with a sprig of mint, they look just as nice to me.

    I also go with Gary Regan’s tip and use granulated sugar, which grinds against the lime zest when muddling and results in a stronger lime taste.

    And good point about Bacardi – it actually makes a damn good Mojito.

  • Jeffrey says:

    Well, thanks, Betsy!

    Definitely try silver rum in place of gold or dark. Remember, you want that bite to balance out the sugar, the mint, and the lime. Too much butterscotch and the whole drink falls apart. Keep those gold rums away from your mojito!

  • Betsy says:

    I’m getting hordes and hordes of Google searchers invading my site for my mojito recipe.

    I just updated the post to point them back to you/this page instead of sending them back to Google, poor souls!

    You’ve got me re-examining my own rum choice – Cruzan Gold (must head to liquor store NOW) – but you should check out some of the variations I’ve come up with; I’d love to hear your thoughts!

  • Jeffrey says:

    Years ago I worked in a pretty high-volume restaurant bar, where we made a mint-infused brown sugar simple syrup for our mojitos. We would then juice a whole lime into the glass with an ounce of our mint simple, add rum, ice, and garnish with a sprig.

    No, it definitely wasn’t traditional, but it tasted fine and we could crank them out by the dozen.

  • Michael says:

    it’s a legitimate argument booze dummy. i wouldn’t shake and strain unless the mint was truly ground into more of a mint sugar paste. shaking and straining with limes and sprigs would result is something less palatable. i got the idea years ago from chefs Mary Sue Milliaken and Susan Feniger (of Border Grill fame) who whipped up a batch of premix in a blender with mint, lime juice and sugar, then strained it out. it’s not a traditional mojito, i suppose, but it still makes one hell of a good drink.

  • Darcy says:

    I’m glad to see your recipe doesn’t include bitters. A lot of people are saying that a Mojito contains them, but they don’t.

    I love Havana Club Anejo Blanco rum. I find Matusalem rum to be very, very light in flavour. They even market at the vodka crowd. Flora De Cana has a good white rum.

  • Scottes says:

    Ten Cane is not an agricole, since agricoles are strictly regulated by the Appellation d’Origine Contrôlée (AOC), a set of very strict French laws governing how one makes agricole, cognac, etc.

    Ten Cane is made in a similar way as agricoles – but so are Barbancourt rums and cachaca, and you have 3 very different tastes. Much of this has to do with the different distillation methods (agricole is distilled to 74 proof, cachaca generally much lower, Ten Cane probably much higher), yeasts, aging, etc. Since the AOC strictly defines the entire process you get similar tastes among agricoles, whereas cachacas can vary wildly.

    Ten Cane does have some of the qualities of an agricole like the crisp freshness and the mild fruity tendencies and being on the dry side. And I have to agree that Ten Cane makes an excellent Mojito, but it can be done much cheaper.

  • Jeffrey says:

    Here’s a question for Scottes, would 10 Cane be considered, technically, rhum agricole? I know it’s not made from molasses but rather pressed cane juice…

    I don’t typically roll a mojito, but I’m not opposed to the idea. However, I think the swizzle component is an integral part of the drink.

    As for straining a mojito, I’m going to have to go with Booze Dummy on this one. The mint and the lime rind are important elements to the cocktail.

    And if you really want to do it right, use your fingers to squeeze that lime. You’ll find that by not disturbing the bitter pith you’ll end up with a much more authentic drink.


  • Booze Dummy says:

    Michael, I’m sorry, but I’m a little confused. I like the look/presentation of lime rind and (whole) mint leaves in my Mojito. That’s a big part of what makes a Mojito a Mojito, at least to me. Besides, if you shake, strain, and don’t add water… isn’t that just a mint-flavored Daquiri?

  • Michael says:

    over muddling the mint is not necessarily amateurish depending on a couple of factors. 1) increase the ratio of rum to lime juice. i’ve tried 3:1 with sucess. since the mint/sugar is more concentrated, i find the extra rum gives the drink a nice balance. 2) shake and STRAIN. no one wants tiny pieces of mint stuck in their teeth and clogging up their straw. I would never shake a mojito unless the flavors could stand up to the added water. (i would never shake whole leaves. that’s just wrong.)

    as an added note, Ten Cane makes a great mojito. i certainly agree that dark or gold rums could muddy the flavors but not this one. of course you have to shall out 3x as much money. there’s that.

  • Dan says:

    10 Cane makes a fabulous Mojito.

    Does anybody else ‘roll’ their Mojitos after it’s been built? I simply pour everything into my shaker shell and pour it back into my collins glass. Everything gets nice and mixed up (including the mint leaves) and it gives the drink a really nice look.

  • Maxine says:

    Thanks so much for this! I attempted mojitos for the 4th of July and ended up with only a slight resemblance to what I was hoping for. I will definitely try your recipe when I give it another go. Can’t wait! 🙂

  • Scottes says:

    I would think that the Cruzan is too light to really come through in a Mojito. I love the Cruzan, but I like a bit more taste in a Mojito.

    I’ve found that the Ron Matusalem Platino is very close to the Havana Club Anejo Blanco, and much better than Bacardi Superior.

    I recently ran a comparison involving these 4 rums as well as Pyrat Blanco:

  • Sean Bigley says:

    Cruzan gets my vote too! I’m also not opposed to an occasional 10 Cane Mojito. But certainly not with my contraband Havana Club 7 anos. That’s my sippin’ stuff. I’m willing to share Jeffrey, but you better get to Vegas before it’s all gone!


  • Jeffrey says:

    Steve, I think Cruzan makes a great mojito as well.

    Jimmy, point taken, but you know what I meant!

    Gabriel, I’m glad we’re in agreement. I had someone order a Myers’s dark mojito last week. Yikes. And this is from someone who loves a Myers’s daiquiri with a dash of orange bitters.

    Thanks for the comments!

  • Gabriel says:

    My personal favorite rum to use in a Mojito is Cruzan Light. For me, it has just the right amount of sweetness and ‘rummish’ quality to blend wonderfully in this. I prefer it to Bacardi Silver.

    However, I have to agree that going with Gold messes up a good Mojito; the Cruzan Light is as dark as I get with it.

  • Jimmy says:

    Great, my ad expires, and you begin posting…..

    I must disagree with this one:

    Do not order a mojito at a dance club, sports bar, drink stand, airport bar…..

    The best bar in San Jose, if you want a properly made cocktail, just might be the Martini Monkey at San Jose Airport.

  • Steve says:

    Good, timely advice! I love a well-mixed mojito, but seriously f’ed up ones are far too common for me to order them regularly. Your recipe looks like a winner; I’ll have to try it out sometime.

    By the way, how do you feel about Cruzan rum compared to Bacardi? I like Bacardi just fine, but it seems like when I make a drink with Cruzan it ends up having a stronger, rummier flavor, which I like. It’s also possible I don’t know what I’m talking about.

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