Classic Mojito

Here’s a classic mojito recipe, perfectly balanced with lime, rum and fresh mint! This iconic Cuban cocktail is refreshing and just sweet enough.


Is there any cocktail more refreshing than a mojito? Here at A Couple Cooks, Alex and I have been learning to make all the classic cocktails, and this iconic Cuban drink is one of the greats. Here’s a recipe for it that’s spot on perfection: not too sweet, bubbly, and minty fresh. Like the margarita, the true version has less sugar and more nuance than what it’s become in bars and pre-made mixes. Here’s exactly how to make a simple mojito! It’s perfect for sipping on the patio, but then again just as good in the dead of winter when you’re dreaming of the beach.

How to make a mojito?

The mojito is a sour cocktail that originates from Havana, Cuba! The origins of the Mojito are cloudy: some say it was invented in the 1500s, others in the 1800’s with the birth of the Bacardi rum company. In any case, its place as an iconic Cuban cocktail was solidified by the 1930’s when Ernest Hemingway helped to popularize the drink.

It makes the list of International Bartender Association’s IBA official cocktails. This means that it has an “exact” definition, though of course it is interpreted differently by bartenders all over the world! Here’s what’s in a classic mojito:

To make it, you’ll simply muddle mint with lime juice and syrup, then add the rum and shake it in a cocktail shaker. Wondering how to muddle (or what muddle even is)? Keep reading.


The right way to muddle mint

Muddling is gently mashing herbs or fruits to release their juices. This is often used when making cocktails, because it helps the flavors incorporate better than if you just threw a mint sprig right into the drink. Is there a right way to muddle? In fact, there is! Here’s how to muddle mint…the right way:

  • Place the mint leaves in the bottom of a cocktail shaker. If you don’t have one, you can use a large metal cup or bowl.
  • Using a wooden cocktail muddler or unfinished wooden spoon, gently mash the mint a few times to release the juices. Do not mash the mint with a lot of force! The key to muddling is a light touch.

Want more ideas for using up mint? Try these Best Mint Recipes or Mint Cocktails.

How to muddle mint

Just sweet enough, using simple syrup or maple

The best part about this mojito: it’s just sweet enough! So many mojito recipes can be like drinking sugar water. This one is sweetened just enough to be refreshingly tart, but not too sweet. It’s just a hair less than the official IBA definition (which adds another teaspoon). Of course if you like your drinks sweeter, feel fee to add more sweetener to taste.

There are two options for sweetening this mojito, depending on your preferences:

  • Simple syrup: Ultra classic is to use simple syrup! You can buy it or it’s easy to make at home. Here’s how to make simple syrup.
  • Maple syrup: Alex and I love using natural sweeteners in our cocktails. Pure maple syrup is a fantastic sweetener for cocktails! It has a nuanced flavor and gentle way of sweetening drinks. And it doesn’t taste like maple: it just adds a natural sweetness.

The best ice for a mojito: crushed or cubes?

One last thing about this simple mojito before we get to that recipe! Perhaps you’re not a cocktail purist like we’re starting to become (oops!). But some people argue over the right ice to use in a mojito: crushed ice, or cubed. In our research, we’ve found this: crushed ice melts faster. So if water is added as part of the drink, you should use ice cubes, not crushed ice that might water it down more.

Using that theory: since soda water is added to this mojito as part of the cocktail, you should use ice cubes and not crushed ice! Now you know. Of course as with any cocktail “rule”, you can break it at any time. If you prefer crushed ice: be our guest! It would be just as tasty. (But a few cocktails where crushed ice is a must…Vodka Cranberry, Berry Vodka Smash and Whiskey Smash!)

How to make a mojito

Mojito variations!

Here are a few cocktails that are similar to the Mojito! Make these Mojito variations when you want to mix it up:

  • Southside Cocktail The Southside is a classic cocktail similar to a mojito that uses gin instead of rum.
  • Southside Fizz It’s like a combination of a Tom Collins and a mojito!
  • Caiprinha Brazil’s national drink! Made with cachaça (like a Brazilian rum) and lime, it’s truly one of a kind.
  • Gin Gin Mule This modern classic cocktail is like a Moscow mule plus a minty mojito (with gin!).

When to serve a mojito

A mojito is always fun and festive, perfect for parties and entertaining, or a laid back evening sipping on your own! It’s great as a:

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Classic Mojito

1 Star2 Stars3 Stars4 Stars5 Stars (45 votes, average: 4.22 out of 5)

  • Author: Sonja Overhiser
  • Prep Time: 5 minutes
  • Cook Time: 0 minutes
  • Total Time: 5 minutes
  • Yield: 1 drink 1x


Here’s a classic mojito recipe, perfectly balanced with lime, rum and fresh mint! This iconic Cuban cocktail is refreshing and just sweet enough.



  • 3 mint leaves, plus additional for garnish
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) lime juice
  • 1/2 ounce (1 tablespoon) simple syrup or maple syrup
  • 2 ounces (4 tablespoons) white rum
  • 4 ounces (1/2 cup) soda water


  1. In a cocktail shaker, muddle the mint leaves with the lime juice and syrup. (Here’s how to muddle mint.)
  2. Add the rum and fill the cocktail shaker with ice. Shake until cold.
  3. Place ice into a glass, and strain in the liquid. Top off the glass with soda water. Garnish with additional mint leaves.

  • Category: Drink
  • Method: Shaken
  • Cuisine: Cocktails

Keywords: Mojito, Simple Mojito, Mint Mojito

More classic cocktails

This mojito is a knock-out classic! Here are a few more of our best classic cocktails you might also enjoy:

  • Piña Colada The best piña colada recipe you’ll find! It’s takes only 5 ingredients and 5 minutes. Drink umbrella required! (Also: there’s a Virgin Version.)
  • Paloma Cocktail Cousin of the classic margarita, this easy Mexican cocktail recipe features tequila with grapefruit instead of lime! 
  • Tom Collins This popular gin cocktail that’s light and bubbly! Here’s how to make this refreshing drink: and don’t forget the cherry.
  • Lemon Drop Martini A zingy classic cocktail, it’s perfectly balanced and refreshingly tart, served with a sugar rim and a lemon twist.

Last updated: July 2020

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About the Authors

Sonja Overhiser

Cookbook Author and writer

Sonja Overhiser is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best healthy cookbooks of 2018. She’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the food blog A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Sonja seeks to inspire adventurous eating to make the world a better place one bite at a time.

Alex Overhiser

Cookbook Author and photographer

Alex Overhiser is an acclaimed food photographer and author based in Indianapolis. He’s host of the food podcast Small Bites and founder of the recipe website A Couple Cooks. Featured from the TODAY Show to Bon Appetit, Alex is author of Pretty Simple Cooking, named one of the best vegetarian cookbooks by Epicurious.

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