the mighty mojito

me, some mint and the bartenderAh the mighty mojito! Cuban Viagra! Or so they say. Classic or frapped it only takes a couple to keep the salsa going all night. Innuendo intended?

Every restaurant in Havana serves them and every bar claims theirs are the best. The Mojito is Cuba’s national cocktail; legends of its origins abound.  The most romantic tale has it that a special concoction was prepared for Sir Francis Drake when he fell ill off the coast. The reported mix of rum, lime and sugar provided by the indigenous people cured him to keep on plundering.

mojito in the makingMore likely is that the rum of the day (and for the next couple of centuries) was so foul tasting it had to be disguised. Sugar and mint were cheap and plentiful. It was a match made it heaven.

After many years and much tweaking the recipe was perfected into the cocktail lapped up by American’s escaping Prohibition. Nearby Havana had everything: warm weather, great music, beautiful women and most importantly, legal rum.

Now touted as Hemingway’s favorite cocktail by bars all over the city, people mimic their hero by drink them everywhere.  His biographers scoff. Hemingway, they say, had no favorite; he would drink anything with alcohol in it.

Truth be damned. All that really matters is that Mojito’s are marvelous.