Today is National Mojito Day and what better way to pay tribute to this most invigorating Cuban drink than to raise a toast for it, with it.

Mojito history is a curious mix of truth and some folklore. The mojito was born on the island of Cuba and is one of the nation’s oldest cocktails. The drink has a disputed history. Some say the drink was developed in the 1500’s when the famed explorer Sir Francis Drake landed in the city of Havana, in order to sack the city of its gold. While the invasion was unsuccessful, an associate of Sir Francis Drake, named Richard Drake, created an early version of the mojito called “ El Draque “ out of aguardiente ( a crude form of rum,) sugar, lime, and mint. Others say the drink was invented by African slaves working in the Cuban sugar cane fields. Spiritz had a chat with Richard Neil Irwin, Bacardi Brand ambassador for AMEA (Asia, Middle east and Africa to know more about this iconic drink and its legacy.

 

Recounting how the term Mojito came into being, Richard has this to say: “Facundo Bacardi, founder of Bacardi Limited, set up a shop in 1862 to upscale aguardiente with white rum. From being a modest blend of firewater, lime and mint leaves, to a new-fangled cocktail made with Bacardi White Rum, fresh mint leaves, lime and super fine sugar, Draque evolved into the popularly known ‘Mojito’ in the nineteenth century.

The name is based on the West African ‘mojo’, meaning little spell or magic potion. The balance of fresh mint and lime with caster sugar is perfectly matched by the delicacy and crispness of Bacardi rum.” The mojito had a resurgence this millennium when in 2002 it played a prominent role in a scene in the James Bond film Die Another Day. In the scene James Bond uses the mojito to seduce Jinx (played by the beautiful Halle Berry.)

According to Richard, the perfect Mojito hasn’t changed much with time. The architecture of Mint, Lime, Sugar and Rum remains the same. Modern technologies have been added to sugars and ice, but the simple balanced drink rests unchanged, and makes for a refreshing concoction.

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