As cocktails go, the mojito is world-famous. It’s the kind of drink that even the least skilled of bartenders will have a go at making, but who came up with the idea in the first place?
What is a mojito?
A mojito consists of white rum, sugar, lime juice, soda water and yerba buena, or spearmint. It’s a long drink that has a relatively low alcohol content given the quantity of mixer. As far as cocktails go, it’s not particularly difficult to make, but there is some dispute over who was the first to do so.
The pirate theory
One theory is that an associate of English pirate Sir Francis Drake invented the mojito in Havana, following an unsuccessful invasion in the 1500s. As the story goes, his crew were suffering from scurvy and dysentery, two illnesses for which the local indigenous people were known to have medicine.
A group of men set off in search of help and came back with aguardiente, mint leaves, lime and sugar cane juice, which was swiftly turned into a drink. Shortly after, a cocktail known as “El Draque,” which was made with similar ingredients, became popular in Cuba.
Competing versions of history
An alternative version is that the mojito was invented by African slaves working in the fields of Cuba. It is thought that the slaves gave their aguardiente concoction the name “mojito” from the word “mojo,” which means “to cast a spell.”
Yet another theory is that the mojito was invented at famous Havana watering hole La Bodeguita del Medio. The owners of the bar claim that their bartenders were the first to make a mojito, and make a great deal of promotional noise based on that idea.
Where to try one
Given the simplicity of the drink, it’s perfectly plausible that different people “invented” the mojito at different times. After all, if you were in Cuba with a bottle of fiery aguardiente and wanted to make it slip down a little easier, you might well reach for a lime, mint and sugar cane juice, given the ubiquity of these ingredients on the island.
These days you can get a mojito in almost every bar in Cuba. La Bodeguita del Medio is a good place to start, although it’s pricey compared to other bars in Havana. It is worth nipping in for one, however, at least to take a picture with the statue of Ernest Hemingway, who was notorious for propping up the bar after he had finished writing for the day.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.