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Drinks Decoded: Mojito

by Lanna Nguyen on Aug 7, 2018 in Liquor

 
In this series, we take a closer look at well-known cocktails. Get to know the history behind classic drinks as well as where you can find them in the DMV area. This week’s Drinks Decoded takes on the Mojito.
 
The Basics
A refreshing summer cocktail, the Mojito is made of five ingredients: white rum, sugar (some recipes call for simple syrup or sugar cane juice), mint leaves, lime juice, and soda water. Traditionally, the lime juice and sugar are combined with the mint leaves and the mixture is muddled lightly - just enough to release the oils from the leaves without crushing the mint. Rum is added and the concoction is stirred (or it can be added to a cocktail shaker and shaken with ice). The drink is then topped with crushed ice and and soda water. The Mojito is served in a Collins glass and garnished with extra sprigs of mint.
 
The Background
One of the more popular origin stories of the Mojito involves famed English explorer, Sir Francis Drake. In the late 16th century, Drake and his men were en route to Havana with hopes of raiding the island, but the crew was taken down with dysentery and scurvy. Local natives provided a remedy that was known to cure the ailments - a combination of a rum-like liquor, lime, sugarcane juice and mint found its way onboard the English ships and it became known as “El Draque” after the seafaring captain. Although not formally known as The Mojito at the time, this concoction was thought to be the first known combination of all the ingredients found in the cocktail.
 
There is debate as to where the Mojito got its name - some say it stems from the Cuban seasoning mojo which incorporates lime, others say it’s derived from the Spanish word “mojadito.” No matter where the name comes from, the Mojito is a classic summertime cocktail evoking tropical vibes and relaxing beaches - a perfect drink for the warmer months.
 
The Bars
Gather your friends and head to the colorful Cuban restaurant and cafe on 14th Street  where the classic Mojito (white rum, lime, cane sugar syrup, mint, soda) is offered in pitcher form on its rooftop - it’s also available as a single glass during happy hour. (1405 T St, NW; 202-332-8800)
 
The downtown rum bar offers 11 different mojitos on its menu (including coconut, watermelon, passion fruit and grilled pineapple) - purists can order the traditional mojito made with pressed sugar cane, fresh lime juice, mint, Cuba LIbre White Rum and a splash of soda. (801 9th St, NW; 202-408-1600)
 
Jose Andres’ Mexican tapas restaurant offers a fun spin on the classic drink with the Mojito Dorado - mint-charged Demerara rum, minted sugar, and lime “air”. (401 7th St, NW; 202-628-1005)
 
Photo via Pixabay user rawpixel
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