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The Mojito


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Of course... Havana Club is unobtanium in the United States, unless you go across the border to Canada and smuggle some back.

Bringing the stuff back in from Canada was no big deal. I brought it on the train from Vancouver to Seattle. They were nuts about Cuban cigars and, I guess, BC bud. There were dogs in the train aisles and cigars being shredded on the platform. I simply filled out the form listing 2 litres of alcohol and I applied the don't ask, don't tell policy.

I brought back the Havana Club 3 year old and 15 year old. Was it worth it? I don't really think so. Certainly wasn't worth the trouble it caused disrupting our vacation to find a liquor store in Vancouver. Some people claim that the craft that made HC the best rum in the world left Cuba when the Bacardi family fled from Castro. I have no way to verify this and it may just be a political statement. The HC that I brought back isn't any better, to my taste, than other rums available here. There was a certain panache that this product had because it was contraband but that has worn off for me. For sipping I like a Haitian rum called Bentacourt sp?. I think thats the name. I'm sure someone will correct me if I'm wrong.

edited for spelling

Edited by dbrociner (log)
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As to "importing" HC from Canada I have never had a problem either. As you say, they aren't looking for Cuban rum nor do they seem to care about it. But you still have to GO to Canada, though.

The Haitian rum is Barbancourt and I perfer the 5 star variety which is their 15 year old. Yes I agree it's very good.

I've never really liked the HC 3y or the 15 Year Old (which you can only buy at the HC store at their museum in Cuba). The best one is Anejo Reserva which is a blend of several years with the average age being 5. The 7 is also good but I've found it harsh as a sipping rum.

Edited by Jason Perlow (log)

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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I've never really liked the HC 3y or the 15 Year Old (which you can only buy at the HC store at their museum in Cuba).

Hmm. Maybe I don't have the 15 year old 'cause I sure didn't go to their museum. I'll have to check. Thanks for the clarification on the Haitian rum.

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Let me know if you want a couple of cool mojito variations.

Yes, please.

Well, you know that Bacardi (and several other brands) make flavored rums. So the possibilities are only as endless as your imagination or your palate. A couple of my favorites are:

Replace half of the lime pieces with orange pieces and muddle along with the mint and sugar. Use Bacardi O orange flavored rum for an O-jito (the original recipe for the Bad Education cocktail at Amada, in fact)

Use Coconut rum instead of regular rum. If you're feeling particularly daring replace some of the mint with cilantro for a Thai-style Mojito.

Use Mango rum and Red grapefruit segments in addition to limes and mint.

If you can find them, use Key limes instead of regular Persian limes.

Etc.

Basic mojito recipe:

1 half lime cut into small pieces (I usually quarter the half longways and then cut into thirds across)

1 Tablespoon Sugar in the Raw (I like this because it's more abrasive to the peels)

8-12 mint leaves (depending on size)

2 oz. Rum

Club soda to taste

Place lime and sugar at bottom of shaker. Tear mint leaves on top and muddle vigorously. Add rum and fill shaker with ice. Shake vigorously until well chilled and sugar is dissolved. Dump contents into rocks glass and add soda to taste. Stir well to incorporate and and enjoy.

It's pretty easy to riff on the basic Mojito recipe. Many of the results can be quite refreshing. :smile:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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katie, i know it's probably not the correct forum, but while i have your attention: any thoughts on making mojitos in bulk? or at least preparing them, for the most part, ahead of time for backyard party guests to finish for themselves? my concern is the sugar component, which i think will attract ants and/or flies. and i sure don't want to have guests muddling if at all possible. :sad:

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Well, you know that Bacardi (and several other brands) make flavored rums.

You know... I don't think I've ever had a flavored rum I didn't hate. Maybe that's for another thread: what are the good ones. Could be I just don't like the largely artificial tastes, though.

any thoughts on making mojitos in bulk?  or at least preparing them, for the most part, ahead of time for backyard party guests to finish for themselves?  my concern is the sugar component, which i think will attract ants and/or flies.   and i sure don't want to have guests muddling if at all possible.   :sad:

I've done this before. The easiest thing to do is to make up the whole works minus the soda water (i.e., rum, sugar, mint and lime) and pour it back into the (1.75 liter) rum bottles. The narrow spout of the bottle, as well as the ability to close the bottle with the cap, minimizes the fly problem. Then people can pour out of the bottle into glasses, top with soda water and garnish with mint (and/or sugar cane, if you like). This isn't quite as good as it would be with the mint freshly muddled, but as you suggest muddling the mint to order really decreases the utility of doing it in batch.

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katie, i know it's probably not the correct forum, but while i have your attention:  any thoughts on making mojitos in bulk?  or at least preparing them, for the most part, ahead of time for backyard party guests to finish for themselves?  my concern is the sugar component, which i think will attract ants and/or flies.   and i sure don't want to have guests muddling if at all possible.   :sad:

That's tough because a major flavor component of the drink is the oils extracted from the peels of the limes (or whatever fruit) from the abrasion of the sugar. That really needs to happen right as the drink is being made.

I'd suggest a covered bartender's fruit/condiment tray with cut up limes, oranges, strawberries, whatever fruits you might want, a container of mint leaves plucked from their stalks ahead of time and covered with a damp paper towel, and a covered sugar bowl filled with Demerara sugar. Provide a few different flavors of rum, a chilled bottle of club soda, lots of ice, several shakers and muddlers and let folks go to town. Have a place to rinse the shakers out or have a hose nearby to rinse the equipment. This really isn't too different from setting up a commercial bar that sells a high volume of mojitos. Any decent restaurant supply store should be able to hook you up with what you'd need to set up a Mojito bar in your yard. Unfortunately the muddling and mixing has to happen right then, I think.

You could always just hire a bartender to do the muddling and mixing for your guests once they've chosen their spirit and fruits/herbs of choice. When is the party? I'll check my schedule... :wink::biggrin:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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. . . a major flavor component of the drink is the oils extracted from the peels of the limes (or whatever fruit) from the abrasion of the sugar.  That really needs to happen right as the drink is being made.

Interesting. If you look upthread, it seems that the conventional wisdom on the Mojito is that the limes should not be muddled (which is actually contrary to my practices the last time I was making this drink with some frequency a few years ago).

Making drinks in batch of course involves some compromises. If one wants to extract significant oils from the limes, I would think something reasonable could be accomplished by peeling off the zest with a vegetable peeler and putting it in the bottle with the rum mixture.

--

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while i'm on the subject, i'll just throw out the fact that Riingo (NYC) had a kaffir lime mojito a while back. i'm sure they didn't invent it, but, i'm all for kaffir lime. it worked well, other than the fact that kaffir lime is a bit tough and choke inducing if not minced enough. and since i have a kaffir lime plant, i might as well run with it...unless there are any objections.

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It would taste different and nontraditional with kaffir lime, but it could be really good. Only one way to find out, right? :smile: I'd think of adding a dash of Angostura bitters to complement the spiciness.

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. . . a major flavor component of the drink is the oils extracted from the peels of the limes (or whatever fruit) from the abrasion of the sugar.  That really needs to happen right as the drink is being made.

Interesting. If you look upthread, it seems that the conventional wisdom on the Mojito is that the limes should not be muddled (which is actually contrary to my practices the last time I was making this drink with some frequency a few years ago).

To my tastes, both mojitos and caipirinas need that zest-i-ness in the drink. It's too much a part of the basic flavor profile of the cocktail. But maybe that's just me.

Making drinks in batch of course involves some compromises.  If one wants to extract significant oils from the limes, I would think something reasonable could be accomplished by peeling off the zest with a vegetable peeler and putting it in the bottle with the rum mixture.

I've done this with lime peels in vodka to up the "lime-i-ness" of Finlandia Lime vodka which is a major component in one of my signature cocktails (a Berry-Lime Cosmopolitan variant with pomegranate juice). Problem with anything like this is that it requires a lot of forethought and time to infuse and is really not quite the same thing as the muddling achieves with the juice of the fresh fruit a la minute.

You know... I don't think I've ever had a flavored rum I didn't hate. Maybe that's for another thread: what are the good ones. Could be I just don't like the largely artificial tastes, though.

Some of these are positively awful, just as their cousins in the vodka category are. For instance, Belvedere Pomarancza is delicious and Absolut Mandarin tastes like baby aspirin. In rums, the Bacardi flavors are decent - I prefer their Coconut to Malibu which I find oversweetened. Captain Morgan's and Cruzan flavored rums are pretty good for mixing. There really aren't any of these that I'd sip on the rocks instead of a nice glass of some aged rum, but for cocktail creation in a commercial environment these things become my friends. Whether they're necessarily my first choice for a libation has little to do with that.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I've never really liked the HC 3y or the 15 Year Old (which you can only buy at the HC store at their museum in Cuba). The best one is Anejo Reserva which is a blend of several years with the average age being 5. The 7 is also good but I've found it harsh as a sipping rum.

I think the 3-year Havana is perfect for daquiris though. It has that slightly medicinal quality that just seems to round off the lime and sugar components. And if you make it a Florida...

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. . . a major flavor component of the drink is the oils extracted from the peels of the limes (or whatever fruit) from the abrasion of the sugar.  That really needs to happen right as the drink is being made.

Interesting. If you look upthread, it seems that the conventional wisdom on the Mojito is that the limes should not be muddled (which is actually contrary to my practices the last time I was making this drink with some frequency a few years ago).

To my tastes, both mojitos and caipirinas need that zest-i-ness in the drink. It's too much a part of the basic flavor profile of the cocktail. But maybe that's just me.

It's been a few years since I've made a Mojito, but I used to muddle the limes when I was making them. Just seems like most of the Mojitos I've seen made -- and I spend most of my time in bars where they've not afraid to muddle if it's called for -- haven't muddled the limes. To a certain extent, I suppose this depends on one's mint muddling technique and also on the degree to which one would like for the rum flavor to come through. Assuming a "light bruising" of the mint and a desire for a rum-focused drink, this might influence the choice away from muddling the limes so they don't overwhelm. A heavier muddle on the mint and a preference for a really limey drink would, of course, tip the balance in the other direction.

Making drinks in batch of course involves some compromises.  If one wants to extract significant oils from the limes, I would think something reasonable could be accomplished by peeling off the zest with a vegetable peeler and putting it in the bottle with the rum mixture.

. . . Problem with anything like this is that it requires a lot of forethought and time to infuse and is really not quite the same thing as the muddling achieves with the juice of the fresh fruit a la minute.

Well, this is where the whole "compromise of doing it in batch" comes in. I'm not suggesting that a freshly muddled and assembled Mojito isn't better than a batched bottled Mojito. But tommy seemed to be asking about a bottled cocktail rather than a "DIY cocktail bar." Experience tells me that a batched bottled Mojito can still be delicious and works very well at a large backyard barbecue, whereas making drinks to order adds a great deal of work and logistical hassle.

--

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Well, this is where the whole "compromise of doing it in batch" comes in. I'm not suggesting that a freshly muddled and assembled Mojito isn't better than a batched bottled Mojito. But tommy seemed to be asking about a bottled cocktail rather than a "DIY cocktail bar." Experience tells me that a batched bottled Mojito can still be delicious and works very well at a large backyard barbecue, whereas making drinks to order adds a great deal of work and logistical hassle.

I don't disagree with this statement, but personally I think it's a lot more work for the host to make everything ahead of time. Perhaps DIY might not have been what Tommy had in mind (although I think it could add a really fun element to the party and maybe even teach folks a thing or two about not being intimidated about making cocktails), but I think it's better to spread the work into small manageable one-drink-at-a-time energy expenditures over the course of the entire evening, rather than one huge hunk of time ahead. But again, maybe that's just me...

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Perhaps DIY might not have been what Tommy had in mind (although I think it could add a really fun element to the party and maybe even teach folks a thing or two about not being intimidated about making cocktails), but I think it's better to spread the work into small manageable one-drink-at-a-time energy expenditures over the course of the entire evening, rather than one huge hunk of time ahead.

you've clearly never met my guests.

i'm looking for the least possible work for my guests. i don't mind doing work beforehand.

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There's also the point that mixing rum, lime juice, sugar and crushed mint (and lime zest, if you like) in a big container and then funneling it back into a bunch of large empty bottles just doesn't represent much work. The hardest part by far would be juicing all the limes.

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Perhaps DIY might not have been what Tommy had in mind (although I think it could add a really fun element to the party and maybe even teach folks a thing or two about not being intimidated about making cocktails), but I think it's better to spread the work into small manageable one-drink-at-a-time energy expenditures over the course of the entire evening, rather than one huge hunk of time ahead.

you've clearly never met my guests.

i'm looking for the least possible work for my guests. i don't mind doing work beforehand.

Make a big batch of mint simple syrup ahead of time. Make a quart of regular simple syrup and pour it into the blender container while still hot over a bunch of mint leaves that have been plucked off the stems. Whirl until well chopped up (make sure you have a towel over the lid or it could be a very painful and dangerous disaster) and chill. Strain through a coarse sieve (I like little flecks in mine) and save. Mix the mint simple syrup with the rum and fresh squeezed lime juice in pitchers. You'll have to come up with your own proportions that suit your own tastes, but I think 5 or 6 parts rum to 2 parts mint syrup to 1 part lime juice is a good starting point. Have chilled club soda to add to taste. Voila! "Instant" mojitos. These will never ever be as good as the muddled-to-order type, but the flavor profile will be at least acceptable to all but the most discriminating and well informed cocktailians. And you can still have different flavored rums to make the mojito bar more interesting if you'd like.

If you want to be different you can make up a batch of what I call "herbed" simple syrup. Two parts mint leaves to one part each of basil and cilantro leaves processed as above. Strain and serve with rum and ginger ale or club soda or with bourbon and ginger ale or bitter lemon. Sort of a funky twist on a julep and quite refreshing on a hot day.

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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Some individuals may have bought several bottles of the HC 15 and brought it into Canada to sell it in a store. They mark up the hell out of it, though. What did you pay for your bottle?

No, I was just wrong. I knew it before I even went and checked because I bought the rum in Vancouver and the liquor stores in BC were/are? state controlled so no chance for some enterprising individual looking to make a killing by selling something he bought in Cuba. Oh well, I have the HC3 and the 7.

Edited by dbrociner (log)
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The 7 I think makes a very good mojito mixer. I like my mojitos with older rums, personally. The Matusalem Clasico and Barrelito 2 star (they also have a 3 star but its more of a sipper) I mentioned above along with Ron Botran (a 12 year old) and Montecristo Rum (similar to the Ron Botran, same producer, same age) are good alternatives for actual Cuban rum.

I was at a Montecristo sponsored event in NYC a few years ago where they made Mojitos with their 12 year old rum. They were fantastic:

http://forums.egullet.org/index.php?showtopic=18881

HC 15 is very, very expensive and in countries that can legally sell it, very difficult to find. In Europe I've heard of it going for around 150-200 euros per bottle, and even there you have to get it from small private resellers.

Edited by Jason Perlow (log)

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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  • 4 weeks later...
Perhaps DIY might not have been what Tommy had in mind (although I think it could add a really fun element to the party and maybe even teach folks a thing or two about not being intimidated about making cocktails), but I think it's better to spread the work into small manageable one-drink-at-a-time energy expenditures over the course of the entire evening, rather than one huge hunk of time ahead.

you've clearly never met my guests.

i'm looking for the least possible work for my guests. i don't mind doing work beforehand.

i had pretty good success this weekend with the following:

mint/rum/lime juice in a blender along with the juice/oils that come from muddling limes with a little sugar/simple syrup, and then the whole works back into a big bottle.

i then just topped them off with soda as i made them, or made sure my guests knew to do the same.

easy peasy. thanks for the suggestions.

the muddling was certainly the hardest part.

Edited by tommy (log)
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I must take issue with the way the mint is abused in a few of these posts. When I first making Mojitos (and julips for that matter) I thought that it was all about the muddling. I was a fan of adding a sugar cube to really tear up the mint was a good thing. I wanted a glob of mint and sugar at the bottom of my glass. Then I would add the lime,rum and the ice, top with a bit of soda, and call it wonderful.

Then I read Charles Baker, and he had a little test that anyone with a sprig could do. He said that if you take a mint leaf, and gently bruise it with your molars, and then gnaw on a mint leaf you will see the difference. Oh, what an epipfiny. If you grind it up it tastes like grass, you only gey base vegital properties. Where if you gently bruise the mint, then pull it up the sides of the glass, leaving a slick of mint oil, and then add simple, lime and rum, it has more mint flavor. Also since the mint is still intact it never gets in your teeth, or clogs the straws. In a perrfect world you let that sit for a wee bit, then add the crushed ice, two small straws, a plume of mint for garnish, and if you are feeling schmancy (SP) spank a sprig of mint above the drink while it is before the imbiber.

A DUSTY SHAKER LEADS TO A THIRSTY LIFE

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