Settled into an easy chair on the veranda while sipping a cooling refreshing effervescent mojito is a sure way to assuage the steaming heat of the tropics!
The mojito was allegedly Ernest Hemingway’s favorite cocktail at La Boquedito del Medio in Havana in the1930’s and 40’s. Most likely not true as Hemingway was infamously known to be a hard drinking dry Martini man, but the mojito’s popularity flourished with the notoriety of Hemingway’s supposed endorsement none the less.
The backstory of the mojito is far more interesting. The etymology of mojo or moc’o is rooted in west African culture’s spiritual and religious rituals of vodun, later in the Americas, voodoo; including the practice of casting magical spells.
Mojo reappeared in the Americas in an African creole language, gullah, that evolved in communities of enslaved Africans who worked on rice, sugarcane, and indigo plantations in the coastal islands of South Carolina, Georgia, Florida, and in the Caribbean islands. Mojo entered into mainstream English usage in the early 20th century and later popularized in the blues songs of Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You” and Muddy Waters’ “Got My Mojo Workin’” in the 1950’s.
The diminutive Mojito was certainly a clever name for a spirited cocktail rooted in the islands that has since been casting its little magical spells far and wide beyond the Caribbean and across the globe.
All the essential ingredients for a mojito are found right here in Southeast Asia; rum, cane sugar, limes, and mint are plentiful. So why not push the boundaries a little and stir up a Thai Mojito? Thailand produces a world class dark rum, Sang Som (moonlight) ( see here). Aged in wooden casks and blended with Thai herbs, Sang Som is available worldwide at select shops and online. Adding a hint of lemongrass to a Thai rum mojito and you have a Thai Mojito with the flavors and aromas of the Southeast Asian tropics.
Thai Mojito: serves 1
- 1 lemongrass stalk
- ½ fresh lime, seeded and quartered
- 8-10 fresh mint leaves
- 2 ½ teaspoons sugar
- 2 oz (1 shot) Sang Som Rum (or other dark rum)
- 4 oz (½ cup) sparkling water (club soda)
- 1 round slice of lime
- 1 sprig fresh mint
Remove the outer layers of the lemon grass until you reach the lighter inner layers. Trim the bottom of the stalk and mash it with the back of a knife. This will release the essence of the lemongrass into the mojito when muddling and stirring.
Place the quartered lime, mint leaves, and sugar in a tall clear glass. Using the lemongrass stalk as a muddler, smash the limes, mint leaves, and sugar together; extracting the juice from the lime quarters, bruising the mint leaves to release the essential oils, and dissolving the sugar into the mix.
Add the rum, stir vigorously to exchange the flavors, and top up with the sparkling water.
Add crushed or small ice cubes to fill the glass. Stir with the lemongrass stalk and garnish with a sliced lime round and a sprig of mint leaves. Leave the lemongrass in the glass for stirring.
The quantities of ingredients can be increased exponentially for making a pitcher of mojito mix, adding the sparkling water once the mojito mix is poured into individual glasses filled with ice.