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Old 08-04-2008, 12:18 AM   #1
The Scribe
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Default When is a Mojito Not a Mojito?

I was reading Wayne Curtis's Republic of Rum blog the other day and he mentioned a bar in Italy that had a whole page of their drinks menu devoted to mojitos. What, exactly is a mojito? Do we consider it a class of cocktail: Spirit, muddled herb, sour juice, sweetening agent, and sparkler? Do we consider it a distinctive drink with a specific set list of ingredients (muddled mint, sugar, lime juice, rum, soda water), or is it something in between? If you replace the soda water with ginger ale, and possibly use a ginger syrup instead of simple, what happens? Could you make a mojito royale with some sort of sparkling wine instead of seltzer?

If we take the example of the old fashioned, then a basic (whisk(e)y) old fashioned is spirit (whisk(e)y), sugar, and bitters. People freely change the base spirit, simply by calling for a brandy or rum or tequilla, or even gin or vodka old fashioned. Bar tenders tend to create "flavoured" old fashioneds by either infusing the spirit, or the syrup. On the other hand, if you use a distinctive mix of bitters (one or two dashes Peychoud's and one or two dashes absinthe or pastis), you have a sazerac.

I guess my position on the mojito is that you can add distinctiveness in three places:
- You can use different varieties of mint.
- You can use a syrup which isn't simple.
- You can change the sparkling ingredient.
However, you need to have mint, some sort of syrup, lime juice (though I might forgive lemon instead), rum (or, if you want a whisk(e)y or brandy mojito, I'll allow that), and something that sparkles. A blueberry mojito is tasty, but it ain't a mojito. Replacing the syrup with cointreau would be interesting, but, again, it's not a mojito. I would consider it some form of rum mint-sidecar.

Thoughts?
Cheers. - S
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Old 08-04-2008, 01:03 AM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Scribe View Post
...but, again, it's not a mojito. I would consider it some form of rum mint-sidecar.

Thoughts?
Cheers. - S
Scribe, you are correct that these modified variants aren't really mojitos. Neither are the countless Martini's made with flavored vodkas with crushed fruit and live sea monkeys. I would guess that to cajole the spending public to try something new, it must have the hip moniker for them to order. Let's face it, the seasoned cocktail connoiseur will always find a place to have his/her favorite drink made correctly. But, the youngster out for a night on the town is into the latest craze. I don't even want to get into what most bars call a Mai Tai....
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Old 08-05-2008, 01:22 PM   #3
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Surely the most important ingredient is the rum. Shouldn't an authentic mojito only be made using Cuban rum??
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Old 08-05-2008, 02:20 PM   #4
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Earlier this year I was asked to write a story about mojitos for a national magazine. I probably didn't write what they wanted to publish but the thrust of the article was why screw up a perfectly good drink by making what I call faux-itos. If you aren't willing to use real mint, sugar - instead of a high fructose corn syrup and real lime, why bother?

More than a few bartenders are going out of their way to make their
***itos cheaper and less tasty for the sake of profit? Classic drinks take real ingredients and time to make, using every substitute ingredient you can find to make a drink cheaper and faster does nothing for your credibility, your repeat business or your tips.

While it is generally accepted that mojitos were at least popularized in Cuba I wouldn't go so far as to say that unless you use Cuban rum it isn't a mojito.
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Old 08-05-2008, 02:38 PM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by The Scribe View Post
Could you make a mojito royale with some sort of sparkling wine instead of seltzer?
Haven't you got yourself an Old Cuban once you do that?
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Old 08-05-2008, 08:49 PM   #6
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I'm not sure. I've never found a bar outside of Cuba that has replicated an authentic mojito. I still remember the first one I had on my first visit to Havana many years ago.
I wouldn't use Bacardi in a Ti Punch.
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Old 08-06-2008, 10:25 PM   #7
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Bunnyhugs, you would be right there. Ed, what I am talking about is not replacing ingredients with cheaper versions of the same. What I am thinking of is , in effect, an apple-jito (and not just the was you make an appletini, which would make the recipe sour apple pucker, apple vodka, creme de menthe). And example of what I speak of can be found in Bridget Albert's blueberry mojito (recipe can be found here, at the end of the post). Do you consider this to be a fauxjito? My inclination is to consider it so.
Cheers. - S
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Old 08-07-2008, 01:16 AM   #8
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"Sea Monkey Rum" - I think you are on to something!
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Old 08-12-2008, 12:59 AM   #9
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In our Mojito Olympic competition we held in June, we defined a mojito containing:

Any herb (crushed)
Any citrus fruit (muddled)
A sweetener (sugar, cane syrup, simple, honey, etc..)
A White Rum (any white rum, rhum, or cachaca was allowed... though the winners all used cuban style rums)

So long as it contained those four ingredients, it could be a mojito. Additional ingredients may be added such as ice, water, soda, champagne, stone fruits, berry fruits, flavored rums or vodkas (as long as the base spirit was a white rum), spices, cocoa, etc, etc, etc...

And by the way, our silver medal winning mojito involved Cucumber-Infused rum, watermelon, basil, lime, and simple syrup, with a club soda topper.
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Old 03-20-2009, 06:28 PM   #10
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A friend who bartends in Cuba told me there are three types of mojito's. The first is the traditional. Sugar, lime, mint, Havana Club white and soda. The second is the same but adds bitters. It is the afterdinner version. The third is the International version. It is made with anything else (Gin, vodka, etc). He never makes them.
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