How Audrey Saunders Reinvented The Mojito To Create The Old Cuban

Some would say the mojito is perfect as is, but Audrey Saunders is like Taylor Swift — always reinventing the seemingly good and making it better. The influential bartender and mixologist maven did just that to create The Old Cuban, and if you haven't tried this riff on this cocktail, you may want to reconsider. 

Traditionally, the mojito is made with rum, spearmint leaves, cane sugar, lime juice, and soda water. The liquor alchemist retained all of the fresh flavors of this refreshing cocktail that we know and love but paired it with the flavors of another classic cocktail — the French 75. In place of mineral water, Saunders opts for a little bubbly along with some Angostura bitters. These two simple but sophisticated changes will not only leave your mouth buzzing, but the addition of the Champagne turns this drink into a glass-clinking, toast-worthy cocktail. Why do these ingredients work so well together?

Sweet meets tart

The Old Cuban is all about balance. It's a drink where sweet meets tart and they live happily ever after. This modern cocktail still uses aged rum, which carries flavors of vanilla and caramel that complement the fresh, cool notes of mint. When juxtaposing these refreshing, sugary flavors with the sharp, spicy, cinnamon taste of the Angostura bitters, this drink has the perfect Yin-Yang effect on your taste buds without clashing or seeming out of sync. Add in the celebratory bubbles of your favorite Champagne, and the acidic burst of citrus will let your glass do the talking with each lovely sip.

Of course, as the old saying goes, necessity is the mother of invention. If you don't have a bottle of Champagne tucked away in the fridge waiting to be popped open, don't be afraid to opt for a Prosecco or sparkling wine instead. After all, if Saunders can reinvent the mojito, you can reinvent The Old Cuban and put your own spin on this 21st century creation.