Mojito: A Recipe for the Most Authentic Cuban Cocktail

Classic. Fresh. Cocktail.

It doesn’t get any more Cuban than this.

So when we decided we needed a recipe for the most authentic mojito, we knew we couldn’t stay local – we had to call in an international expert.

And Havana Club Rum Brand Ambassador Donnie Wheeler is just the mixologist we were looking for:

“The classic Cuban mojito is something that’s simple and elegant in the same breath… the classic is really five simple ingredients: sugar, quality lime, mint, sparkling water, and Havana Club 3-year-old rum.”

Those are the words of someone with experience. Someone who understands the essence of Cuba’s favourite cocktail, and the difference between what’s genuine and what’s been turned into a (Northern) mistake:

“Our North American palette is definitely too sweet when it comes to cocktails. It should be about balance.”  

Which means the key to a great mojito is to perfectly blend the fresh flavours of lime and mint with a complex, flavourful white rum, and then balance it with a touch of sugar. And it’s also why Wheeler suggests using Havana Club 3-year-old rum. Spending three years in a barrel naturally mellows the spirit and makes it a unique and elegant expression of white rum – in the traditional Cuban style.

“It’s dryer, more refreshing, and at the end of the day, it’s why Cuban classic cocktails are Cuban classic cocktails.”

So, what is a true classic Cuban mojito?

The ingredients:

– 1 teaspoon of sugar

– Juice of half a lime

– 2 mint sprigs

– 3 oz of sparkling water

– 1.5 oz of Havana Club 3 Year Old

– 4 ice cubes

The method:

– In a tall glass (always), add 1 teaspoon of sugar, lime juice, 2 mint sprigs (note: include the entire sprig as opposed to breaking off the mint leaves…your straw will thank you), and 3 oz of sparkling water

-Muddle gently

-Add 1.5 oz of Havana Club 3 Year Old and the ice cubes

– Stir well

If the simplicity and ease behind creating the ultimate Cuban cocktail isn’t enough to already have you pouring one right now, Wheeler’s description of the taste of Havana Club 3-year-old Rum will definitely make you want to:

“The Cuban essence comes in through the barrels, through the air, through the wood. When you taste it straight, you taste Cuba.”

Done correctly, an authentic Cuban mojito may just be the perfect import.

Master the classic recipe above and pretty soon you’ll be able to move on to acceptable variations. This could mean using fresh cane juice instead of sugar if you don’t want it too sweet, or fresh local seasonal fruits like peaches.

As Wheeler says, “once bartenders master the classic, they can do whatever they want. It’s like ballet: you need to learn the theory first before you can go off and express yourself in your own way.”

And you know what they say: practice makes perfect. 



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