A Real Cuban Mint Mojito recipe straight from my trip to Cuba. Learn the secret ingredient in these famous Cuban cocktails and what makes them authentic!
I love Cuba! And visited the country in January 2016. Besides the lifelong friendships I made, this recipe is the best souvenir ever…oh and this recipe post has a lot of photos I took in Cuba so read on…
Secrets to real Cuban mojitos:
So the first secret to making your mojitos as the Cubans do is to use aromatic bitters! It balances out the sweetness of the mint and sugar. The brand I use is called Angostura, a product from the Carribean islands that you can easily find in the US and globally.
Secondly, there is a trick to muddling the mint. Normally mudding results in brown smashed mint in the drink which is not pretty or tasty. Simply muddle (push down and twist) the bottom of the mint stem into the sugar and lime juice. And finally, they didn’t leave the lime peel in the glass, which makes the drink a little bitter due to lime peel.
This shot is from my trip to Cuba, this is how they do it for thristy travelers!
- 2 teaspoons white cane sugar
- 1/2 lime juice only
- 1 long mint sprig - The original Cuban recipe use spearmint or yerba buena a mint variety very popular on the island of Cuba
- 1 shot of white rum good US or Puerto Rico brand, Cubans typically use Havana Club 3 year white rum
- 3 drops aromatic bitters Angostura brand is best
- sparkling water
- wooden muddler small wooden spoons work fine
In each glass: add 2 teaspoons white cane sugar, and the juice of half a lime. In Cuba, they don't place the lime into the glass, just the lime juice!
Next place one long mint stem into each glass and simply muddle (push down and twist) the bottom of the mint stem into the sugar and lime juice. Two reasons for this: one you don't get a strong bitter taste when you over muddle the mint leaves, and they stay pretty and green not brown and bruised. (This tip came from the bartenders we met on our trip and was confirmed with my good friend Abel who travels Cuba extensively with tourists, and this Cuban knows a thing or two about mojitos!)
Next, add 1 shot white rum, 3 drops aromatic bitters, a few ice cubes (in Cuba they don't add lots of ice), top with a splash of sparkling water, mix, and sip away!
about Cuban rum: Havana Club - El Ron De Cuba, is not currently available in the US due to the import embargo. You can find some good options like Havana Club - Puerto Rico available at specialty liquor stores.
garden mint growing tip: plant mint in a pot in your garden, mint sends runners and will run everywhere in your garden and you don't want that.
shortcut for making mojitos for a large party: making many mojitos for a party can be time-consuming on the host. Note: this is not a "real Cuban mojito", but saves time and tastes amazing!
make mint simple syrup: bring 2 cups water and 2 cups white cane sugar to a boil, turn off heat and drop 8-10 mint leaves into the pan. Let steep for 10 minutes, then remove the leaves.
Now to make the mojitos: Add 3 tablespoons simple mint syrup per glass, 1 shot white rum, 3 drops aromatic bitters, 1/2 lime juice only, few ice cubes, splash sparkling water, mix, and garnish with a sprig of mint.
People have asked about the best way to see Cuba. Easy, go with Mary Drobny and her company is Cultural Journeys. Mary is adored by the Cubans, lives there part-time, and is kinda “famous” in Cuba. Hey, they knew her at the airport when I landed, and she has friends all over the country!
Go to Cuba, it is amazing. The cars and cigars are great, but the people, food, art, and architecture will delight you!
All The Best Dishes,