Can you taste it yet?
It’s almost Mojito season.
In fact, it may already be here, but my mint is still a little sleepy from the long winter and cool spring. I’m sure it won’t be long now before it wakes up and starts to overtake the pot, as only mint can do.
So, in preparation for the mojito summer season…let’s review:
Marvelous, Magical Mojito (makes one serving; increase as necessary)
1 to 2 limes, cut into 4 pieces
1/4 cup fresh mint leaves, plus a sprig for garnish
1 tablespoon granulated or confectioners sugar
Ice (cubed or crushed)
2 ounces white rum
1/2 cup chilled club soda
Muddle (gently smash) the mint leaves and pieces of lime with sugar in the glass until the sugar is dissolved. Add ice and stir in the rum and club soda. Garnish with the mint sprig and serve immediately with appropriate amounts of hammock swinging or pool lounging.
As we sip our deliciousness, let’s raise the glass in salute to where it all began…
Legend and lore state the drink’s name, mojito, comes from the African word mojo, which means to place a spell. But Africa must share the rights to the drink with Cuba, where it’s rumored the drink was created by slaves working in sugar cane fields in the late 1800s.
Still more rumors have Sir Francis Drake creating the mojito in the 1500s. Legend has it that another Drake, English pirate Sir Richard Drake, prepared the first mojito by mixing aguardiente (a primitive version of rum) with sugar, lime and mint. According to this story, the drink was originally named El Draque (after Sir Francis, Drake’s boss, called The Dragon). The spell was cast in Cuba when these pirates went treasure-hunting through the Caribbean leaving their mark along the way.
Originally, it was mixed and prescribed for some sort of medicinal purposes (uh huh, sure). Rum eventually replaced aguardiente, and our modern-day mojito was born.
Which of the legends is true? Nobody knows for sure. To add to the mystery, one of America’s most prominent authors, Ernest Hemingway, was a big fan of the libation while spending time at La Bodeguita del Medio, Havana, as well as in the Florida Keys.
Whatever the true origins, the drink certainly can be spellbinding because once you recline on a hot summer day, sipping rum, sugar and mint, you may forever be under its magic spell.