Last Updated April 19th, 2022 at 02:19 pm by Lisa
Straight from my trip to Cuba, this Mojito is 100% an authentic Cuban mojito! Learn the secret ingredient in these famous Cuban cocktails and what secrets make them totally 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 enjoy...
Readers Love This Cuban Recipe
- "We made these mojitos the other night and OMG- So darn good!"
- "Lisa, loved all your pictures of Cuba and the directions on how they make Mojitos in Cuba!"
- "Mojitos are my favorite! They were so good! This recipe is a keeper! Thanks, Lisa"
- "What a refreshing cocktail recipe. Now I’m wondering how these will taste with your Cuban pork cuban sliders! I sense a reason to gather. LOVE your photos from Cuba (and those Havana Club glasses). Another great post!"
How To Make REAL Cuban Mojitos
Step 1: In each glass: add 2 teaspoons of 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!
STEP 2: Next place one long mint stem into each glass and simply muddle (push down and twist) the bottom of the stem only NOT THE LEAVES 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 PRO TIP came from the bartenders we met on our trip and was confirmed with my good friend Abel who is a Cuban travel guide, and trust me, he knows a thing or two about mojitos!
STEP 3: Next, add 1 shot of white rum, and 3 drops of aromatic bitters.
STEP 4: Add a few ice cubes, in Cuba, they don't add lots of ice because it is not commonly used, top with a splash of sparkling water, add mint garnish, mix, and sip away!
PRO TIP: Use good white rum from the US or Puerto Rico, Cubans typically use Havana Club 3 year white rum~ but we can't get that here in the USA, the Europeans and many countries in the world can so enjoy the real experience if you can get your hand on authentic Cuban rum.
Why can't you get real Cuban Rum in the US?
When you travel to Cuba and YES you can travel to Cuba as a US Citizen, you are limited on what you can bring back from Cuba. You are allowed up to $100 worth of cigars and/or alcohol like Cuban Rum. The other rule is you have to carry it back, no shipping is allowed.
Source: Daily Beast
The US government does not allow Cuban Rum to be imported due to the trade embargo from the 1960s. Cuban products are widely available in Europe and other parts of the world. If and when the United States becomes a more active trading partner with Cuba, then Rum would be high on the list of things to import from Cuba along with Cigars!
What Mint for Mojitos?
I snapped this picture in Cuba while we were at lunch at a seaside restaurant, out in their garden. They grew their own mint and made us the most refreshing mojitos...
Yerba Buena and Mojito Mint are used interchangeably in the popular cocktail, particularly in Havana, Cuba because they have a similar flavor.
Mojito Mint, Mentha x villosa, was brought to North America from Cuba about 15 years ago. Up until 2005 or 2006, this mint was rare and hard to get outside of Cuba.
Secrets to REAL AUTHENTIC 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 Caribbean 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 leaves in the drink which is not pretty or tasty.
PRO TIP: 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.
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!
My Cuba Travel Photos
Memories of Cuba
The drinks in the collage above are the Cuba Libres I sipped in Cuba when I first arrived, it's called "research"! There are so many things to love about Cuba, it is an intoxicating country of contrasts. Of course, you know about the colorful classic cars and cigars. Some of my favorite memories are that Cubans love their families, and take their time doing things. They have extremely talented artists, and everyone works at something. There is no "fast service", nothing is rushed. You wait for food and drink, but it's worth the wait.
The food was surprisingly delicious, I tried many dishes in the 3 weeks of my travels, and there are strong Spanish and French influences in their cuisine. Some of my favorite dishes were; Croquettes, Paella, Cuban Sandwich, Malangas "fritters", Tapas, Ajicao (Cuba's national dish), Ropa Vieja-shredded beef, and Congri -mixed black beans and rice.
The internet was quite undependable, but we loved the disconnect. Everything is swept so clean, and the Cuban people are so kind and take pride in their homes with lovely gardens. The older buildings are sometimes crumbling, and I saw one literally held up by old trees that grew inside the structure. When they finally fall, a new park is usually created for the neighborhood to gather. It is common to see Cuban neighbors sharing a bottle of rum, no cups or ice just sipping it, listening to great music, and always dancing.
My Other Cuban Cocktail - Cuba Libre
Cuba Libre is well over 100 years old. It has quenched the thirst of travelers and people around the world who enjoy this classic cocktail. It is simple yet sublime...
- 2 teaspoons white cane sugar
- ½ 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 Rican 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 of 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!
- Place one long mint stem into each glass and simply muddle (push down and twist) the bottom of the stem only NOT THE MINT LEAVES into the sugar and lime juice. Two reasons for this: one you don't get a strong bitter taste when you over-muddle the leaves, and they stay pretty and green not brown and bruised. This tip came from the bartenders we met on our trip in Cuba and was confirmed with my good friend Abel who is a Cuban travel guide, and trust me, he knows a thing or two about mojitos!
- Next, add 1 shot white rum, 3 drops aromatic bitters.
- Add few ice cubes, in Cuba they don't add lots of ice because it is not commonly used, top with a splash of sparkling water, add mint garnish, mix, and sip away!