Mojito Criollo

Creole-Style Mojito

The mojito is a drink that originated on sugar plantations in Cuba. Cane cutters working in the fields were provided by the plantation owner with barrels of guarapo, fresh sugarcane juice. The workers often added a bunch of fresh mint, hierba buena, to the guarapo to flavor it, and on special occasions they spiked it with aguardiente, a rough form of rum. Over the years, the drink became fashionable and evolved.

The recipe that follows is an updated version of the original. It calls for guarapo, which is sold fresh in Miami and other Cuban enclaves in the United States and is also available in cans in many Latin American grocery stores. If you can’t find guarapo, combine 2 tablespoons sugar and ¼ cup water in a small saucepan and stir over medium heat until the sugar is dissolved and the syrup turns clear. Chill the syrup before using.

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Ingredients

  • 6 fresh mint leaves
  • ¼ teaspoon finely grated lime zest
  • 2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • ¼ cup guarapo (sugarcane juice) or sugar syrup
  • 2 ounces light rum
  • ½ cup cracked ice
  • ¼ cup 7-Up or soda water
  • 1 stick sugarcane

Method

In a mortar, crush the mint together with the lime zest. Combine the mint, zest, lime juice, guarapo, rum, and ice in a cocktail shaker. Shake well to release the mint aroma. Pour into a tall, narrow glass and top with 7-Up. Garnish with the sugarcane stick.