According to a legend repeated by the Mojito Company, the precursor to the mojito was introduced to Cuba in the 1500s via Richard Drake, an English pirate, who mixed aguardiente (an unrefined rum), sugar, lime and mint. He coined the drink “El Draque” (meaning “the dragon”) after the nickname of his head honcho, Sir Francis Drake. A few centuries later, here is how a few local bartenders create their own magic with similar ingredients.
Desman Coronado, lead bartender
Left Bank Brasserie (Larkspur)
“The ideal mojito is well balanced, not too sweet, not too tart. At Left Bank, we muddle fresh mint leaves, add a splash of lime juice and add lots of ice, up to the rim of the glass, so it chills the alcohol instead of ‘watering’ it. We then pour in light rum and a little simple syrup (a mixture of water and sugar), shake it, and add chilled soda water on top and a splash of dark rum.”
Ryan Altick, bartender
Three Degrees (Tiburon)
“First place the ice, a lime wedge and a handful of locally grown mint in the bottom of a snifter. Add a dash of freshly squeezed lime juice and house-made simple syrup and muddle the ingredients for full flavor. Add one shot of 10 Cane Rum and top with ice and soda water. Garnish with a lime wedge and enjoy!
Eric Mejía, bartender
Noonan’s Bar and Grill (Larkspur Landing)
“We use fresh organic mint and limes plus 100 percent pure agave nectar instead of simple syrup. I like to muddle the mint leaves with a couple lime wedges and the agave nectar first. This releases the mint flavor and the lime oil while keeping the mint leaves whole. There’s nothing worse than picking bits of mint out of your teeth the whole night.