With National Mojito Day upon us tomorrow we’re reminded that the deliciously sugary rum concoction was first sipped in the bars of Havana way back in the 1500’s. Back then it was known as El Draque, after the British sea captain Sir Frances Drake, who administered the lime-heavy concoction to his sailors in an attempt to ward off scurvy. With Cuba now thrust into the mediarati limelight as the next must-visit destination, and with scurvy seemingly on the decline (unless certain conservative news outlets suddenly decide it isn’t), there’s no better time to get your Cuban on, even right here at home. Here are three recipes to try, and where to get them yourself at our favorite New York bars.
A perfectly traditional mojito can be had at W Hotel New York and Gerber Group’s perpetually buzzy Whiskey Blue.
Muddle 10 mint leaves and choice of fresh fruit (grapefruit, blackberry, or ginger)
2 Bacardi Limon rum
.75 lime juice
.5 simple syrup
Shake and dump. Rocks glass. Mint Sprig.
For a non rum-based version – don’t tell Draque – try the very British gin-based Blighty Mojito, courtesy of Portobello Road Gin, which is being served at the fabulous Harbor in Montauk, as well as the Evelyn Drinkery in the East Village.
Blighty Portobello Mojito (created by Jake Burger)
1 3/4oz Portobello Road Gin
3/4 oz Lime Juice
3/4 oz Sugar Syrup
10 – 15 mint leaves
1 inch of cucumber diced
Take a tall glass and add all ingredients along with a little crushed ice and a little tonic water. Churn the whole lot thoroughly using a long handled bar spoon. Top with more crushed ice and another splash of tonic. Garnish with a large sprig of fresh mint (slap mint first before garnishing to release mint essence).
If fruity-rummy is more to your taste make your way over to the Chelsea Market for a sangria-based mojito at The Tippler.
.5 oz. white rum
.5 oz. VSOP cognac
.5 oz. dry curacaco
3 oz. light to medium-bodied fruity red wine
1 wedge lemon
1 wedge lime
1 half-wheel orange
1 mint sprig
In a mixing tin, muddle citrus. Add all remaining ingredients, minus red wine, with ice and shake vigorously. Strain over fresh ice in a tall glass. Float red wine. Garnish with a fresh mint sprig and sliced fruit.
Plus, should you already be planning that trip to Castro’s ‘Pearl of the Antilles’, our recommended Havana bars in which to sip one of the Drakey’s classics are La Bodeguita Del Medio, El Floridita (Hemingway’s hang) and Lluvia de Oro.
For more places to drink and eat right now, check out the BlackBook city guides.