The Perfect Mojito Cocktail: Do’s and dont’s of mojito making

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One of my favorite drinks in the world, if done right, is the mojito. I know what with fall being well under way and winter rapidly approaching, it’s not really the choice drink for the season, but hey, what with global warming, globalization and all, the once summer-only ingredients such as fresh limes and mint sprigs are now readily available all year round at the local megamart.

And while not really traditional, I see no reason why we can’t turn up the heat inside, put some Cuban rhythms on the stereo and have ourselves a couple of proper mojitos this weekend. Who’s with me?

Perfect Mojito Cocktail

 Now, there are many takes on how to make a perfect mojito. I’m no master mixologist by any stretch of the imagination, but I do know how to make a few basic cocktails and drinks – and the ones I do know how to make, I allegedly do quite well. I am a geek after all so I obsess over details which is really a good thing when mixing drinks.

Consequently, I often get asked to mix drinks whenever drinks time rolls around. And I also quite frequently, especially when it comes to mojitos, get asked just how I do it. The answer is pretty simple: it’s not so much about the recipe as it is about the procedure and what you do and don’t do.

What follows below is a combination of two posts written for another blog of mine back in 2007 (boy!) coupled with a few pointers I’ve picked up since. It shows how I think a perfect mojito should be made. You may well disagree and if so, I’d love to hear from you! Drop me a comment below! The original post was heavily inspired by a few other posts I discovered some six years ago, so I’m afraid I lost the sources.


The do’s and dont’s of mojito-making (and ordering)

Do use crushed ice in your mojitos. Crushed ice will melt faster, which is a good thing in a drink with such strong flavors. The extra surface area of crushed ice also means a colder drink.

Do not use a pre-made mojito mix out of a bottle. This is one drink you want to do right.

Do use the basic proportions in this recipe to make yourself a mojito at home.

Do not over-muddle the mint, or muddle the lime with the ice cubes. These are strictly amateur moves. Lately, I’ve found myself not muddling the mint leaves at all, but rather just giving them a few thorough whacks between my palms followed by a gentle squeeze to release the essential oils, then rubbing them along the rim of the glass to add extra flavor and scent to each sip. It works, try it!

Do not use Bacardi Rum in your mojitos if you live in Europe or anywhere else that doesn’t have an embargo on Cuban goods. You owe it to yourself to use Havana Club which is not only the traditional choice, but also the best choice. Use one of their white rums. I personally use Havana Club Añejo 3 Años as my go to rum for mojitos

Do reluctantly use Bacardi rum in your mojitos if you’re a citizen of the United States. You’ll be really hard pressed to find real Cuban rum due to the embargo on Cuban goods. If you can, though, try to find Ron Matusalem Platino at a specialty store, it really is the closest thing you’ll get to real Cuban rum, and it’s not as industrial and harsh as Bacardi.

Do not use overproof, spiced or gold rum in your mojitos. They can muddy the flavor tremendously. For a real treat, though, try your favorite aged rum or a combination of favorites to create a dirty mojito.

Do use bottled mineral water in place of seltzer water. Remember, garbage in, garbage out. If you’ve got something major to celebrate, use Champagne, the real stuff. You’ll have a Mojito Royale, a fine drink indeed, and your date will love you!

Do enjoy a mojito on a warm summer evening.

Do not enjoy a mojito when the weather is below 70°F. This is almost as bad as ordering a Bloody Mary after the sun has gone down.

Do ignore the rule above if the mood so strikes you!

Do slowly sip a mojito and enjoy the way the flavors meld over time.

Do not have ten mojitos tonight. At around 200 calories each, that’s like 2000 calories, there, fatty. Also, you might just die from alcohol poisoning!

Do not order a mojito when there is a line at the bar. Your bartender is probably not going to put a lot of love into it. In fact, you might get just the opposite.

Do order a mojito when the bar is slow. Your bartender will appreciate having an intricate cocktail to make. And if he/she doesn’t? Fuck ‘em!

Do order a mojito from a reputable bartender at a reputable bar.

Do not order a mojito at a dance club, sports bar, drink stand, airport bar, chain restaurant or fraternity house. You’re just going to end up being disappointed.

Do not slurp down a mojito in less time than it took your bartender to make it. You’re probably already on the back burner for ordering it in the first place, and it’s going to be a while before you’re allowed another.


Making the Perfect Mojito – the Johan Way

Preparing a Mojito really isn’t difficult. It just takes a bit of time and some quality ingredients. Master the technique and do it slowly and calmly and trust me, you’ll be the boss of your next party.. Like a boss! I’m probably putting myself out of commission by teaching you these tricks, but hey this way, you can make me a mojito the next time I visit! Right?

And with that, I give you the proper way to make a perfect mojito – in my world at least. Again, you may disagree, but in that case I’d also love to hear from you in the comments below!

Perfect Mojito Cocktail

Perfect, authentic Mojito cocktail recipe

Course Drink
Servings 1
Author Johan Johansen


  • 6 cl Havana Club 3 year old rum or other quality white rum
  • 3 cl Simple syrup
  • 1 lime organic
  • 6 cl San Pellegrino sparkling water or other sparkling mineral water
  • 1 handful Moroccan mint leaves


  1. Grab a serving glass and chill it either by filling it with ice while mixing or by sticking it in the freezer.

  2. Squeeze the juice of one lime into a shaker, throw in the spent hull in as well.

  3. Grab a muddler and muddle thoroughly to release the essential oils from the lime rind.

  4. Add rum and simple syrup to the shaker along with ice and shake vigorously for a good 15-30 seconds.

  5. Grab your chilled glass, squeeze the mint leaves gently in your hand and rub them along the rim of the glass, drop the lime leaves into the glass afterwards.

  6. Fill your serving glass with ice then strain the contents of the shaker into the glass.

  7. Top with San Pellegrino sparkling water, stir and serve immediately.

Recipe Notes

To make your own simple syrup, combine equal parts of cane sugar and water in a sauce pan. Heat until sugar dissolves, then cool and refrigerate till needed.

4 thoughts on “The Perfect Mojito Cocktail: Do’s and dont’s of mojito making

  1. Tina says:

    Why not throw just a couple of mint leaves into the shaker along with the lime juice and ice cubes after you’ve slapped them and give them a bit of a shake to ensure that the taste becomes a more integrated part of the drink?

    • Johan says:

      In my opinion, it makes for a less attractive drink. Shaking tends to tear the leaves, clouding up the drink and causing little bits of green to flow around in it unless you use a really fine meshed strainer. I also personally prefer the more subtle mint flavor that comes from leaving them relatively intact and letting them steep in the drink, they’ll integrate subtly but perfectly. Also, in terms of appearance, it looks better having them float around whole.

      If you want a more pronounced mint flavor, I’d suggest adding them at the end of the muddling phase, and giving them a gentle pounding. As with any fresh herbs, you should never be too violent with them..

      Most importantly, though, you should do as you find fitting. You are, after all, the boss of your mojito 🙂

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  3. Luke says:

    My method has always been middle lime wedges with the sugar syrup (palm preferred) and then build from there all in the vessel itself (I use a rounded highball). I stir a couple times after adding crushed ice so as to aid the dilution process. I do however like the idea of muddling in a Boston shaker, shaking and double straining. Good build guide and recipe. Very thorough 🙂

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