The Mint Variety That Will Elevate The Look And Taste Of Your Mojitos

When cocktail fans want a refreshing, earthy sipper, chances are they're reaching for a Mojito. What makes Mojitos extra special is their unusual ingredient lineup: white rum, club soda, lime juice, and lots of fresh mint. Many cocktails can be made exclusively from pre-bottled sour mixes, syrups, and spirits, all of which can be stored in a home bar fridge for weeks at a time, but in a Mojito, the fresh ingredient is essential. That's why we're deep-diving into one particular mint variety that will take your Mojito to the next level — introducing curly mint: the secret to an attractive, flavor-packed cocktail.

Curly mint (aka Mentha spicata var. crispa) is characterized by its ultra-curly, frilly leaves and small lilac flowers. The plant boasts all the appeal of cooking and baking with edible flowers translated to the cocktail world. Not only is curly mint an attractive garnish, but it also packs a more intense minty flavor and aroma than the regular Mentha mint variety. Also, thanks to its thick, sturdy stalk, curly mint can be used as a functional, aesthetically pleasing stirring stick in your next Mojito, incorporating more and more minty flavor as you stir.

Go curly for your cocktail

For many cocktails, bartenders will advise you not to waste your high-quality spirits on mixed drinks. This is not the case for the humble Mojito. There are no mixers, syrups, or liqueurs to hide behind, so picking the right rum for the job is key to achieving a well-balanced drink — especially when adding the cool and herby curly mint into the mix. In our review of the best white rums for regular Mojitos, Tasting Table recommends the complex, flavorful Plantation 3 Stars. But, when making a Mojito with curly mint, it might be wiser to select a rum with minimal flavor notes to let the strong herb shine. Flor de Caña 4 Extra Seco is a dry offering that won't compete with the mint, and BACARDÍ Superior is a budget-friendly option with a clean, understated finish. 

Garnishing your cocktail with a few of those delicate lilac flowers would be a decorative visual. You could even customize your Mojito with a few hibiscus leaves or blueberries to help stand up to the strong minty flavor. Whatever combination of rum and garnishes you choose, rest assured when you opt for such a stunning, punchy herb, minimal effort is needed on the part of the bartender. Simply pop over to your local farmer's market (or hit up your friend with a backyard garden) and elevate your Mojito game to pro status — and let curly mint do all the heavy lifting.