Bottoms Up

Tinted with sensual regional ingredients, sweet and sharp in one sip, is there any drink more evocative of our city than the Mojito? Below we explain the history of this elegant import.
Text by Ryan Jarrell | June 27, 2018 | Lifestyle

Every day, all across our city, 5 or 6 p.m. signals a sea change in the atmosphere. As neckties are loosened, heels are kicked off and drinks are poured, the tantalizing hiss of subtly released pressure seems almost palpably present in the air we breath. Unbeknownst to most, when locals lift that coveted glass of wine or bubbling brew to their lips, when they hoist a highball or signal their bartender with a gesture of well-practiced ease for a cold one after a long day’s efforts, they are participating in a species-specific rite sacred since man first crushed grapes. What are you drinking at the end of your wrathful workday is not something that can be categorized by ABV or wine ratings; when you lift a drink to your lips, what you’re really drinking is a story. A cocktail characteristic with our city’s inextricable ties to the island of Cuba, that lovably light refresher known as the Mojito is no different. It was 1586 when explorer Sir Francis Drake, riding high on the successes of the Battle Of Cartegena De Indias, saw an epidemic of scurvy and dysentery rock his crew. Far from port and off the coast of Cuba, he bartered with local Indians for a delightful restorative shockingly similar in composition to the modern-day mojito we love so much today, a drink whose later claims to fame included odes written by South Florida exuberant Ernest Hemingway and center stage in any self-respecting beachside bar’s repertoire. From a 16th Century shipman’s stomach ache to the snazziest saloons in town, let’s all raise a glass to the pedigree of this truly classic cocktail.

Muddle Man
A more tender art than it might appear, the secret to a successful or sinfully spoiled Mojito is all in the art of the muddle, a technique that you can easily master even without an accessory mixological degree and hundreds of dollars of artisanal equipment. First, place mint, sugar and any other ingredients you’re using to spice up your drink in a sturdy glass. Then, take the handle of a rolling pin and press down lightly on your additives and give a few simple twists. Requiring all the senses, the secret to successful muddling is scent. The moment you smell mint issuing freely from the glass, you’re done, and have set the stage for a truly magnificent sip.