Finally! I figured out how to make the perfect homemade mojito. Mojitos are fizzy rum cocktails that taste fresh, minty, citric and a little sweet. Club Soda expands the flavors to create an afternoon-worthy sipper. Mojitos are extremely refreshing on warm days and I feel like I’m on vacation every time I get my hands on one.
Mojitos is originally from Cuba and I hope that one day I can try a real one. We enjoyed Cuban style mojitos in Miami on a long Valentine’s Day weekend earlier this year. Mojitos happen to be the only cocktail my husband will drink (usually he’s more of a beer and wine man). I studied the bartender’s methods when we were there so I could learn how to make them at home.
In Old’s Havana they set highball glasses all the way down the bar, adding a generous spoonful of sugar to each, followed by several sprigs of fresh mint (or Yerba Buenaas they call it). They mixed the mojitos in the glasses to order and garnished them with real sugar cane. I drank my drink and swayed to the rhythm of lively Latin American string music that was playing just yards away. I honestly don’t know if it was an authentic or manufactured Miami experience, but it was magical nonetheless.
Outside of Miami, great mojitos can be hard to come by. Many bars don’t stock fresh mint so they decline the request, and my own homemade attempts have been flawed over the years. After studying and practicing my mojito technique, I look forward to sharing my mojito recipe with you today!
It turns out that all you need are five basic ingredients (mint, lime, sugar, rum, and lemonade) and a few simple tips to make the best mojito you’ve ever had. You don’t even need a shaker or simple syrup for this classic mojito recipe. Bottom up!
Use the freshest and nicest mint you can find. If your mint looks sad and withered, you can try reviving it in a bowl of ice water for ten minutes. That usually makes up for it. Save the nicest branches to garnish your mojitos.
Spearmint is my favorite type of mint for mojitos. As a plus, it’s the easiest variety of mint to find in grocery stores (if you see it ambiguously labeled as “mint,” it’s probably spearmint). Spearmint is sweeter and milder than peppermint. Peppermint is loaded with menthol, which can give your mojito an odd cooling mouthwash effect. If gardening is your thing, consider growing mojito mint (Mentha x Villosa), which originated in Cuba and is considered the most authentic mint for mojitos.
I use fine cane sugar in my mojitos and it’s easy to customize to taste. Most of the mojitos I’ve ordered in bars are too sweet for my taste, which is another reason I love making mojitos at home. Some recipes call for simple syrup instead of sugar, but I actually do to like The texture of simple sugar in mojitos – the occasional granulated sugar is a sweet surprise!
For a classic mojito, be sure to use white rum, also known as clear, light or blanco. Real Cuban rum cannot be bought in the US due to the embargo, so we can get by with other Caribbean rums. Some of the best rums for mojitos are El Dorado 3 Years, Plantation 3 Stars, Flor de Caña or of course Bacardi.
Fresh lime juice is the only way! Reserve your nicest green lime and cut it into rounds to garnish your mojitos.
We’re going to fill up our ice-filled glasses with lemonade. Fizzy club soda transforms the intense aromas of rum, mint and lime into a light sipper. Any club soda or normal sparkling water will do. Lately I’ve loved Topo Chico which isn’t traditional but has tons of tiny, persistent bubbles and no fun aftertaste.
Suggested mojito equipment
Mojitos are really easy to make, especially if you have these tools (these links are affiliate links):
- Citrus press
- Measure jiggers
- Cocktail spoon
- Wide glass straws
How to make the best mojito
The full recipe can be found below. Here are some tips for best results:
Choose sturdy glassware with a thick bottom. We mix the drink in the glass and I’ve never had any problems with it. However, handle it carefully and don’t use mom’s crystal.
Do not overly confuse. It’s tempting to mix your mint into tiny pieces while hoping for a maximally minty flavor. I know I did it myself (here’s the proof). In fact, your mojito will taste better if you don’t overdo it, and the texture will be more pleasant without tons of tiny bits of mint floating around.
Adjust to taste. The recipe works out as written my Ideal mojito, but please adapt it to your taste buds. Use a little less rum for a less juicy sipper. Add more sugar if you prefer a sweeter drink (our Mojitos in Miami likely use between 2 teaspoons and 1 tablespoon of sugar). Or, for a sugar-free cocktail, skip the sugar altogether (you may prefer some extra lime juice, which will reduce the spiciness of the alcohol).
Gently beat your mint garnish before use. Do you think i’m kidding? No! We will save a beautiful sprig of mint to garnish our drink. As a final touch, gently clap it between your hands to release some of those fragrant mint oils. Then slide it into your drink, keeping the top of the branch above the surface. The scent makes your drink taste wonderfully minty.
Add one or two bitter substances: We were surprised to find Angostura bitters floating on some of our Mojitos in Miami. I really like how they make a simple mojito taste subtly more complex. If you are bitter at home it is definitely worth a try.
Make it fruity: Mix several slices of juicy, ripe fruit with your mint. For a tropical spin, try mango, pineapple, or even kiwi. Or try berries (strawberries, raspberries or blackberries), peaches or cherries. The sky really is the limit.
Try cucumber: Mojitos become magical even more Refreshing when you stir in a few pieces of peeled cucumber as shown here.
Add basil and lemon: We’re pretty far from convention here, but I enjoyed this lemon and basil mojito variety.
More classic cocktails to enjoy
Here are a few more refreshing cocktail recipes that are lovely on warm days. Check out my summer cocktail roundup to find out even more.
- Aperol spritz
- Bees knees
- Mint julep
- Moscow donkey
- Red sangria
- Tom Collins
- Preparation time: 5 minutes
- Total time: 5 minutes
- Yield: 1 cocktail 1x
- Category: cocktail
- Method: Touched
- Kitchen: Cuban
Learn how to make classic mojitos at home with this foolproof recipe! These not-too-sweet mojitos are mint-fresh, bubbly and delicious. All you need is white rum, lemonade, fresh lime and mint, and sugar. Recipe as written makes 1 cocktail.
- 1 ½ teaspoon Sugar at will
- 4th Leaf sprigs with fresh mint, each about 5 to 6th Inches long
- 2 ounces white rum
- ¾ ounce Lime juice
- Club soda or mineral water (I like Topo Chico)
- Completely optional: 1 to 2 drops of Angostura Bitter
- 1 Lime round, for garnish
- In a sturdy, tall, thick-bottomed cocktail glass, add the sugar and 3 sprigs of mint (we reserve the last sprig for garnish).
- Mix the mint with the sugar about 5 to 10 times until the mint is very fragrant (not so strong that the mint falls apart completely).
- Pour in the rum and lime juice and stir gently a few times to dissolve the sugar. Fill the glass with ice.
- Fill the glass almost to the brim with lemonade. To combine, stir carefully in circular motions and then use the spoon to pull some of the muddled mint higher into the glass.
- Try and stir in more sugar if desired. Add a drop or two of bitters if needed.
- To garnish, put the lime round in the glass. Gently clap the remaining sprig of mint between your palms (this will release some of the oils) and stick it into your glass, leaving the top exposed. Serve cold with a wide straw.
Measuring tips: If you are using standard measuring cups and spoons, two ounces are ¼ cup and ¾ ounce are 1½ tablespoons.