Happy National Mojito Day! To celebrate, grab a tall glass, your favorite sunglasses, and read about one of Cuba’s favorite cocktails.
1. This mixed drink is more than 500 years old.
The history of this aged drink is a mystery, but most are sure it was concocted in the 1500s, making it one of the oldest mixed drinks still consumed today.
2. Pirates may have played a part in its creation …
Sir Francis Drake was hailed across England as a hero, and was knighted by Elizabeth I after helping defeat the Spanish Armada. But to the Spanish, he was a ruthless pirate known as El Draque. It is said that a mojito-like drink was invented after Drake found himself near the city of Havana. Called El Draque, the cocktail had aguardiente (early rum), sugar, lime and mint. Originally, the drink was used for medicinal purposes, to help treat scurvy and dysentery. When the aguadiente was replaced with rum, the mojito was born.
3. … But the origin of its name tells a different story.
means a magic charm or talisman. It likely has roots in an African language. Some believe that the name was introduced by the slaves in Cuba who worked on sugar cane farms. This theory is often dismissed by historians who think this is more likely the origin of the word daiquiri.
4. Hemingway loved them.
Ernest Hemingway loved a good drink, and mojitos definitely fit that bill. While spending time in Cuba, the writer often patronized La Bodeguita del Medio in Havana, a bar that claimed to have invented the modern-day mojito. He picked up the drink and spread its popularity stateside.
5. James Bond (and Halle Berry) helped make them popular again.
Pierce Brosnan’s Bond enjoys a mojito while chatting up Jinx (Halle Berry) in the 2002 movie Die Another Day. The scene led to a spike in popularity for the otherwise underappreciated drink.
6. They're big in Poland.
According to Google Trends, Poland Googles the term “mojito” more than any other country in the world.
7. Britain enjoys them too.
, which was done by consultancy firm CGA Strategy, found mojitos to be the most popular drink in Great Britain in 2014. Cocktail sales in general have risen 10 percent from 2012 to 2014 as more Brits are enjoying sweeter alcoholic beverages.
8. Honey and ginger ale make mojitos even better.
Mixologist Kenji Jesse recently gave the DailyMail some advice for the perfect mojito. Replacing sugar syrup with honey and switching soda water for ginger ale will give your cocktail a more complex flavor. He also recommends crushing your ice with a rolling pin and using pre-frozen glasses.
9. And so do these special ice cubes.
Normal ice cubes melt and water down your drink, but the Huffington Post has come up with a solution. Mojito cubes are equal parts water, sugar, and lime juice. You can also drop these into a glass of rum if you're in the mood for something stiffer.
10. There are lots of variations.
The mojito recipe doesn’t have to be completely rigid. You can play around by adding new ingredients, like fresh fruit or flavored rum. Not in the mood for a drink? Try these mojito cupcakes.