The Best Way To Get A Sweet And Fresh Texture In Your Mojitos

The mojito is a classic highball cocktail of Cuban origins featuring the five elements associated with "punch" — i.e., a spirit, a sour, a spice, sugar, and water. Today, a great many mojitos are made with rum, fresh lime, fresh mint leaves, simple syrup (which takes care of both the sugar and the water), and soda water for a light, bright effervescence. Because simple syrup is boiled, the sugar within it melts fully, such that when simple syrup is used in place of sugar in a cocktail, it has the effect of dispersing the sugar's sweetness ubiquitously throughout the cocktail. The result is wonderfully smooth, and there's certainly something to be said for the modern mojito's smooth texture.

However, the first published mojito recipe used granulated sugar, rather than simple syrup as a sweetener — despite that simple syrup had been invented more than a century earlier. And having tried granulated sugar in our own mojitos, we can tell you why that might have been. Granulated sugar's crystalline structure adds a textural dimension to the whole, one that's far more consistent with the spirit of the muddled, unshaken mojito. In fact, we'll go so far as to say that using granulated sugar, rather than simple syrup, might be the best way to cultivate the sweet minty flavor and fresh texture mojitos were meant to have. 

Muddle your mint with granulated sugar and experience the magic

One of the first tasks in assembling a mojito is muddling fresh mint leaves with either granulated sugar or simple syrup. Muddling mint, or any herb, is meant to release those bright flavors and aromas. However, when you do so with actual sugar, as opposed to simple syrup, the sharply granular structure takes your muddling a step further by creating microscopic tears in the mint that a wooden spoon, alone, cannot. As a result, the mint leaves can better absorb the sugar's sweetness, and vice versa — thereby intensifying the cocktail's sweet and minty flavor.

When you add fresh lime to the glass before muddling, you're taking that flavor a step further still. At the same time, the sugar particles help macerate the lime to release not only its zesty essential oils but also bits of real, tangy lime pulp, which you'll eventually stir throughout your cocktail. Together with the crystalline sugar, that pulp makes for a wonderfully fresh texture in your mojitos.

Once you've muddled your mint and lime with sugar, all that's left is to pour your rum (white rum, always white rum), add ice, and top with soda water. A rock candy swizzle stick certainly couldn't hurt either. And, if you're using our Homemade Lemon Rock Candy Recipe, simply swap out the lemon for lime, et voila!