History of the Rum Mojito

Rum Mojito Cocktail

Rum Mojito is a refreshing citrus, mint cocktail. Only five ingredients make up this drink, rum, sugar, lime, sparkling water, and mint. Some Cuban recipes call for spearmint instead. The combination of flavors, citrus and mint, compliments the potent kick of this popular summer drink. The mojito is one of the most famous rum-based highballs. Pronounced, mo-hi-to, this drink is unique in many ways. The meaning of the word, Mojito, is derived form the word mojo, which means to blend or combine. An excellent interpretation of the drink itself.

The history of Rum Mojito concoction starts with the pirates in the Caribbean possible as early as the late 1500s. A forerunner of the drink as we know it today was a mixture of unrefined rum, sugar and lime. As the legend goes, an English pirate, named Richard Drake named this drink after Sir Francis Drake, calling it the El Draque. Historians have differing opinions as to the true inventors of the Rum Mojito, giving most of the credit to the slaves working the sugar cane fields. By crushing the sugar cane stalks, they made syrup which they used to make drinks similar to those of their homeland. Confusion with this origin remains because of the similarities to the daiquiri. Others will claim this is an ancestor of the Mint Julep, so famous in the American south. Although made with bourbon and not rum, there are facts that support this theory. The recipe for a rum mint julep is provided in Stanley Arthur Clisby’s 1937 book, Famous New Orleans Drinks and How to Mix ‘Em. This is the original Rum Mojito that came on the scene as the aristocrats who were arriving in New Orleans after being expelled from San Domingo.

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The popular bars popular in the Havana were the La Floridita, Sloppy Joe’s, and Hotel Sevilla. Bars serving the daiquiri eventually offered the Rum Mojito. Although the ingredients are quite similar, it is the preparation of the Rum Mojito that makes this cocktail so unique. Rum Mojito recipes can be found in bar manuals from the 1930s and 1940s. The Rum Mojito gained popularity in Havana at a favorite restaurant and bar where students, musicians, and soon-to-be celebrities, including Ernest Hemingway, Bridget Bardot, and Nat King Cole frequented. The Rum Mojito is reported to be Hemingway’s favorite drink.

Key West eventually embraced the Rum Mojito. Being so close to Cuba, the Rum Mojito moved with the cigar trade and the transport of beer and rum during Prohibition. Ernest Hemingway spent a great deal of time in Cuba and Key West in the 1930s. He is commonly held responsible for the introduction of the Rum Mojito to Key West. The timing of Ernest Hemingway’s move to Key West and the opening of Sloppy Joe’s is interesting as Hemingway and Joe Russell, the owner of Sloppy Joe’s were good friends and fishing buddies.

After making its way to Miami and the trendy South Beach scene, the Rum Mojito has gained popularity in other metropolitan cities like San Francisco and New York. The Latin influence that hit America in the 1990s also helped increase the exposure of the Rum Mojito cocktail to the world.

Appleton Estate Jamaica Rum The Exceptional Mojito

Rum Quote: Fifteen men on the dead man’s chest-Yo-ho-ho, and a bottle of rum! ~ Robert Louis Stevenson, Treasure Island