You probably haven’t had many history lessons that started with pillaging the Caribbean and ended with a delicious cocktail. But that’s just one of the things that make the mojito so unique.
The mojito may have a trendy reputation outside of Cuba; however, its origins are anything but chic. But none of that matters to us here at London Cocktail Company, instead we’ve mixed rum, lime, mint and sugar to create the perfect Mojito – all that’s missing is plenty of ice.
Legend has it that the first version of this gorgeously minty rum based drink was called “El Draque”, after the pirate Sir Francis Drake, as it was rumoured to be his drink of choice. Created from by mixing aguardiente (unrefined rum), sugar, lime, and mint, the drink was coined “El Draque” (‘the dragon’), a note to his career of terrorizing South America and the Caribbean. Drake used Cuba as a base island, which is seemingly how the drink arrived there. The Draque cocktail can also be found in some other Latin American countries, including Mexico, Columbia, and Venezuela – likely a tribute to Drake’s pilaging of those countries.
There are several other theories as to how the Mojito came to be in Cuba; some believe that African slaves who worked in the Cuban sugar cane fields during the 19th century played key roles in creating the cocktail. Guarapo, the sugar cane juice often used in Mojitos, was a popular drink amongst the slaves who helped coin the name of the sweet nectar.
The origin of its name is also unknown, one idea is that the name relates to mojo, a Cuban seasoning made from lime and used to flavour dishes, while another theory is that the name Mojito is simply a derivative of the Spanish words mojadito (‘a little wet’) or mojado (‘wet’).
Which of these tales is true? We’re not sure. But a great cocktail deserves a great story! And speaking of stories, one of America’s most prominent storyteller’s, Ernest Hemingway, is known to have been a big fan of the mojito and drank them at La Bodeguita del Medio in Havana as well as in Key West, Florida.