One Of The Oldest Cuban Cocktails May Have Been Mixed Before The Mojito

Mojitos are an all-time classic. Combining mint, white rum, lime, and syrup in a carbonated base is a refreshingly perfect beverage. But before this drink hit off ubiquitous popularity, it was predated by a historic sling called the el draque. Legend has it, that this concoction was first crafted in 1586 by British captain, Sir Francis Drake. Due to his frequent plundering of Spanish settlements, he was graced with the cocktail's subsequent nickname — el draque.

In the spirit's origin story, the medley of ingredients is said to fortify a sailor's health. The utilized lime aids against scurvy, the mint eases digestion, and the spiced bark that's made from the chuchuhuasi tree that's native to the Caribbean relieves pain. Then, a dose of sugarcane spirit and sugar eases the drinkability of the intensely flavored potion. However, since this time, the drink has fallen into relative obscurity and therefore never became part of the cocktail canon. Nevertheless, it's a beverage worth crafting. 

The el draque incorporates ingredients similar to the mojito into a bolder drink

The drink was said to have emerged in the 1580s, which was almost a century before the invention of rum. As a result, the sling more classically employs aguardiente de cana, a sugarcane precursor to rum. Such a spirit style is nearly identical to cachaça, which is frequently employed for the drink. Additionally, the el draque mixes in mint leaves, whole lime, and sugar, typically not in syrup form. Due to the bark's obscurity, its inclusion has stopped in modern recipes. Like a mojito, all ingredients are muddled to combine.

The drink's mixed to create a spirit-forward beverage, closer to a Ti' Punch than a mojito. Modern-day renditions have shifted to include white rum, as well as spiced rum in the mix, yielding varying flavor profiles. If crafting a rendition at home, make sure to select a high-quality rum, since its taste is strongly reflected in the result. Consider the aromatic nature of a rhum agricole or a white rum which are both well regarded for mojitos for the most flavorful result.