If you’re looking to expand your drink-making repertoire, you should master the classic first! This Authentic Puerto Rican Mojito is a MUST make… and thankfully, it’s very easy to master with a few simple but essential ingredients.
This post is sponsored by Princess Cruises. All opinions are 100% my own.
So as you know, I went on a Caribbean cruise a few weeks ago and I’m having major withdrawals over it. I came home to typically sunny California for a week straight of rain, and I ended up catching a cold. But don’t feel too bad for me, because I’m going to be surfing the post-cruise high for a long while… especially now that I know how to make a proper mojito!
On our particular Caribbean Princess Cruise, we went to Princess Cays, Bahamas; San Juan, Puerto Rico; Amber Cove, Dominican Republic; and Grand Turk, Turks & Caicos. Of those ports, I was most excited to explore Puerto Rico… and it did not disappoint! If you’ve never been to this US Territory, you must make a stop there ASAP.
Old San Juan is seriously stunning. Between the colorful buildings to the cobblestone streets, there is life and love and color everywhere. Built around a huge fortress wall that has been there since the mid 1500’s after Christopher Columbus found the island. He named it “San Juan” after Saint John the Baptist. “Puerto Rico” was the name given to the old part of San Juan (‘puerto’ meaning ‘port’ and ‘rico’ meaning ‘rich’). It was only later that the names were reversed and San Juan became the capital, and Puerto Rico became the country’s name.
We learned all of this information on a guided walking tour through Old San Juan called “History and Cuisine of San Juan.” In this tour, we visited breathtaking cathedrals (some in session!), catacombs, monuments and points of interest, including the fort’s “front doors.” After walking around all day in the tropical sun, we stopped by a cooking school to learn how to make mofongo, Puerto Rico’s signature dish, and an authentic Puerto Rican mojito.
But first: the mofongo! Essentially, this vibrant, flavorful dish is meat and potatoes, but done with a Puerto Rican spin. The “potatoes” as we’d use on the mainland are mashed plantains; however, at this particular school, they used mashed cassava or yucca root. Yucca (also spelled ‘yuca’) is peeled, cut into rounds and fried, then mashed for a very unique texture – some parts are creamy like a mashed potato, and others have deliciously addictive crispy bits. It is traditionally mashed by hand in a very round bowl with a well made in the center for a meat stew to top it off. For this particular experience, we had beer-braised chicken stew on top of the smashed yucca. It was SO delicious!
After our hearty lunch of mofongo, we learned how to make Authentic Puerto Rican Mojitos! I didn’t think I liked mojitos before because I’m generally not a fan of sour things, and most mojitos in the States are notoriously made with bottled lime juice, which offers a tangy tartness I don’t particularly care for. Not in Puerto Rico, though!
We were taught to use three fresh lime wedges and however many sprigs of mint we liked and to muddle them until the limes and mint released their juices and oils, respectively. We added simple syrup, rum (more on that in a minute!) and ice and shook the shaker vigorously for up to 30 seconds to really allow those flavors to meld together, and to obviously chill the mixture. Then you pour the whole thing (limes, mint, ice and all) into a glass and top it with club soda or tonic water.
The result is a supremely refreshing, thirst-quenching beverage that satisfied everyone on that sweltering hot day! A hint of tart and juicy lime, sweet mint, Puerto Rican rum, a little sugar, and a splash of carbonation is all it takes to take your mojito game to the next level!
And when it comes to rum, I bet your brain landed on one brand in particular: Bacardi. While it is true that Bacardi is most common in the world to be used for a mojito, Puerto Ricans actually like Don Q rum. Don Q started on the island in 1865 and has been a staple since – in fact, it is rumored that the first pina colada was created in Puerto Rico using Don Q rum! The difference between Don Q and Bacardi is that Don Q is triple distilled for a super clean, ultra-easy to drink rum, whereas Bacardi is only distilled once.
Once I had a taste for the real deal, I used my Ocean Medallion back on-board to order mojitos to wherever I was on the ship, on demand, within minutes. You simply use your Ocean Medallion to use the Ocean Now app, order your drink of choice, and it comes directly to you on the ship! It was so cool!
These Authentic Puerto Rican Mojitos use no bottled lime juice concentrate, no artificial anything – just pure, delicious, satisfying mojitos you’ll want to slurp down all summer long!
- 3 lime wedges
- Mint leaves (I like mint minty, so I use about 4-6 bigger mint leaves, but start small with just a few), torn into rough pieces
- 1 ounce simple syrup
- 2 ounces Don Q Cristal Rum
- Club soda or tonic water, for topping
- In a cocktail shaker, add in the lime wedges and mint leaves. Using a muddler or a wooden spoon handle, muddle the mixture for a good 30 seconds to 1 minute to really release the juices from the limes and oils from the mint. Add in the simple syrup, rum, and enough ice to nearly fill the cocktail shaker.
- Shake the cocktail shaker vigorously for about 30 seconds or until ice cold to the touch. Remove the cocktail shaker lid and pour the entire mixture - ice, limes, mint, and liquids - into a fresh glass. Top with club soda or tonic water.
I know you’re going to LOVE these mojitos as much as I did!
Have a super sweet day!