This simple cocktail recipe for classic mojitos is special for at least two reasons: it provides a shortcut for muddling the mint leaves that loses none of the freshness, and it has an extra ingredient that make them shine. A few dashes of bitters adds a depth to this cocktail that will make them you favorite version of all time.
If you make the mint simple syrup ahead, or purchase mint syrup, this cocktail comes together in about 5 minutes, and can be made ahead for parties.Jump to Recipe
Want to make this recipe perfectly the first time? I want to help with that. So, check out this Table of Contents to see which sections of this post will help you the most.
When I recently visited Havana, our group was welcomed at every lunch and dinner with large trays filled with cold mojito cocktails poured into tall glasses, and topped with mint. The weather was very hot and humid, and these cocktails were a great way to cool off.
After trying as many as 8 mojitos during the week from different establishments, I realized that although everyone uses the same ingredients, there's no one recipe for mojitos that everyone uses. Like Pisco Sours in Peru, everyone has a slightly different version. Some are sweeter, others have more rum.
🤷♀️ What is a mojito?
A mojito is a classic highball drink that originated in Cuba, and is the perfect thirst-quencher on hot sultry evenings. While the ratios of the different ingredients may change from home to home, this classic cocktail is made with local ingredients of rum, sugar, lime and mint, and topped with club soda. Sprigs of mint finish the cocktail in all cases.
A classic mojito recipe requires a bit more labor than some mixed drinks, as it involves muddling fresh mint with sugar and lime. This is what creates the hallmark mint flavor of a mojito cocktail.
Mint leaves are piled into the bottom of a highball glass with a wedge of lime. A cocktail muddler crushes the lime into the mint in a twisting motion to release juice and mint oils. Another lime wedge is added along with the sugar, and the muddling continues. This muddling is what makes a classic mojito so refreshing.
Then the glass is filled with ice, rum is poured into the glass, and finished with club soda.
I do this when it's just for a couple of cocktails, or even four. But if I'm making a pitcher of mojitos for a party, I make a batch of mint syrup ahead of time and keep it in the refrigerator. And that's what makes this recipe a shortcut classic mojito.
❤️ Why you'll love this recipe
- Easier and way less messy with mint syrup in place of muddling the mint and trying to get the sugar to dissolve in the cold drink.
- They're incredibly refreshing, especially when topped with club soda.
- Perfect for summer parties.
- You can make the cocktail mix ahead (without the club soda) and keep it in the refrigerator. Quickly shake and pour into a pitcher and top with club soda.
🧅 Main Ingredients + Notes
The secret to faster and easier meals often lies in the ingredients. For example, store-bought items and ingredients you make ahead and store in the refrigerator (or freezer) can turn a 60-minute recipe into a 30-minutes meal or less.
For the all of the ingredients, measurements and directions to make this classic Cuban cocktail, go to the Recipe Card at the bottom of this post.
- Mint syrup - either purchased, or make your own mint syrup.
- White rum - Also called light rum, it has a very clean taste, and makes the best mojito. I use Bacardi Rum, which started production in Cuba. If you're interested in the beginnings of Bacardi Rum, I can recommend the book Bacardí.
- Fresh lime juice - freshly squeeze lime juice is best, but you can use bottled, if that's what you have on hand.
- Club soda - or soda water, seltzer or sparkling water.
- Angostura bitters - this is optional, but I highly recommend adding a few dashes adds a beautiful depth to this cocktail.
- Fresh mint leaves - (optional) to muddle additional mint.
- Mint sprigs - for garnish.
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🔪 Recommended Equipment
Having the right equipment for recipes makes prepping soooo much easier. If you want more fuss-free prepping and cooking, check out my updated list of favorite kitchen tools and equipment.
Here's what you'll need for this easy mojito recipe.
- Jigger - or something else to measure the ingredients in ounces.
- Cocktail shaker - or a jar you can seal with a top.
If you choose to muddle some additional mint leaves in the glass before adding the ingredients, I also recommend a cocktail muddler to make this easier.
🎯 Why This Recipe Works
- Starting with mint simple syrup ensures the sugar is dissolved in the drink, and saves a lot of time and work by eliminating the muddling steps.
- If you want your mojito a little more minty without the extra sugar, just muddle a little mint with a wedge of lime and add to the drink.
- The club soda makes the drink incredibly refreshing on a hot summer day or evening.
💡Ideas for Possible Variations
- Muddle berries in the glass before adding the cocktail ingredients. Blueberries, blackberries, and raspberries are all great options. Or make a strawberry mojito.
- Peel a nectarine or peach, chop and smash a bit in the bottom of the glass with a pinch of sugar, and add the ingredients for the cocktail.
- Make a mojito mocktail by eliminating the rum. No other changes are needed.
📇 More Summer Cocktails You Might Like
Sgroppini - (think of it as a Prosecco Slushie)
Shortcut Classic Mojito Cocktail
- Fill a tall glass with ice. A Tom Collins glass is perfect for this cocktail.
- In a cocktail shaker, combine the mint syrup, rum, lime juice, and a few ice cubes. Shake it like crazy, and strain into the glass.
- Stir in a couple dashes of Angostura bitters, add the mint spring, and serve with lime slices.