The Mysteries of the Mojito

Close up of a Lateo Mojito Cocktail

A Life of Intrigue

As this is my first blog, I wanted to choose a cocktail that was both popular and interesting. This line of thought took me to the Mojito. Whilst creating posts for Lateo I crafted a few ‘fun facts’ posts, which is where I stumbled onto the Mojito’s weirdly murky history.

Many historians have tried to pinpoint the origin of the Mojito and somewhat failed, therefore my lengthy Google searches probably won’t crack the case. So, I’ve decided to discuss what we know, what we don’t know and what definitely isn’t true but sounds cool nonetheless.

What We Know

I most certainly got what I asked for when I said I wanted an ‘interesting’ drink to talk about. Despite its mysterious past, there are a handful of facts said to be true about the Mojito. Havana, Cuba, is the most likely birthplace of the Mojito. It was widely known that the South American Indians made medicines for tropical illnesses, so a boarding party visited Cuba and returned with medicinal ingredients. This included ‘burning water’, a rudimentary type of rum mixed with lime, sugar and/or sugarcane juice and mint. The tropical ingredients helped hide the harsh taste of the rum and lime juice could prevent scurvy and dysentery. I personally would be less stubborn about going to the doctors if they handed me a cocktail at the pharmacy. The time-frame of these events also proves the mixed drink is at least five hundred years old, making it the oldest cocktail still consumed today.

It’s really popular. The Mojito is incredibly famous and so are the people who drink it, supposedly. There is a wide-spread rumor stating that world renowned author Ernest Hemingway loved himself a Mojito. It is said he would often order a Mojito at La Bodeguita del Medio, in Havana, Cuba. Turns out, it’s not true. It was an idea drummed up by the venue and a journalist who happened to be a friend of Hemingway. Many people have seen a handwritten note from Hemingway that serves as ‘proof’. This was also fake. The note was forged. Honestly, the tale of Hemingway and the Mojito has the potential to be its own novel at this point. The creation of the myth was an attempt to drum up more business for the bar. I mean, that’s the hustle, right? Maybe they should’ve started a blog. Either way, we know this myth greatly contributed to the popularity of the Mojito.

Photo by Nate Cohen from Pexels

What We Don’t Know

The name ‘Mojito’. Who, when, where did it come from? How the drink got its name can only be speculated. I believe this a good thing because it means there are some good, juicy theories about it. The first theory states that the name ‘Mojito’ comes from the Spanish word ‘Mojadito’, which translates to ‘a little wet’. This theory is the most realistic but not the most interesting, quite frankly.

The next theory focuses on Sir Francis Drake, a naval officer and explorer. It is said he created a cocktail with the exact same ingredients as a Mojito but instead named it ‘El Draque’. Although Sir Francis was known for plundering Spanish vessels during his expedition around the world, technically making him a pirate. Therefore, he probably ‘pirated’ the cocktail recipe too.

Photo by Pixabay on Pexels

Easy to Learn, Hard to Master

The Mojito recipe is widely known and fairly easy to remember but due to its ingredients it is rather lengthy to prepare. Apparently, it has garnered a reputation as the ‘takes too long to make’ cocktail. Meaning few bartenders have the time or passion to practice making them. Cocktail Bars and restaurants are your best bet for a perfected Mojito.

An extension of this is the fact a Mojito can be greatly improved by having the correct amount and type of sugar to compliment the citrus-based fruit. The method in which the leaves are crushed and the glass it is served in can also change how a Mojito tastes.

Why do we love it as a brand?

I mean, what’s not to love ey? Rum – check, Citrus flavours – check, Mint – check! Throw all of this together (along with demerara sugar, crushed ice and soda water) and you have yourself one heck of a refreshing drink.

The bartenders at Lateo have all been trained to an extremely high standard and pride themselves on their ability to craft the best mojito in Blackpool (trust me I know from experience, YUM!)