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Celebrate National Mojito Day With These Awesome Takes On The Classic Cocktail

The proliferation of sugar cane from the New World was a dark chapter of human history. Columbus originally brought sugar cane seeds back to the Canary Islands and eventually Spain in an attempt to grow the crop in Europe. It never really took off. By the time Sir Francis Drake was pillaging and plundering the Spanish Main for England in the late 1500s, a very crude rum was being distilled on the Isle of Cubaaguardiente de caña, or firewater of sugar cane. Drake’s bedraggled naval crew was ravaged by scurvy by the time they made Havana’s port. The locals were combining the fire water with lime juice, sugar cane juice, and fresh mint. They called it the The Drake.

Within a century of Drake’s elixir, rum became the distilled spirit of the new world. Rum’s dominance was so great, that by the mid-1700s, Boston had 30 rum distilleries. 1,000,000 gallons of molasses was making its way to Rhode Island yearly for rum distilling just in that state. Rum was the Americas’ drink of choice.

It was the Cubans that would continue to the tradition of adding a little lime, or mojo, to the rum, mint, and sugar cane. Eventually the mojo concoction became known as the Mojito. Some claim it wasn’t mojo, but a corruption of the word mojado, which means wet. Maybe it’s a little from column A and a little from column B. No one really knows how or when the name came to be, but it stuck. The classic Mojito became enshrined with five ingredients: fresh mint leaves, sugar cane juice, lime juice, rum, and a spritz of bubbly water. But it’s 2016, so why settle for classics when you can turn your cocktail into an event?

To really amp up the flavor, replace the fizzy water with a good pour of champagne. The Mojito Royale is easy, elegant, and damn refreshing. [Pro tip: drop in one dash of Angostura Bitters while muddling to cut through the sweetness and add a little more depth.]

For the home cocktail master, a few tips are needed to get started. First, learn to cut limes. Then, master the simplicity of simple syrup. Lastly, get your muddling game down pact.

Here are some great video recipes to expand your Mojito horizons. The options are only limited by your creativity and imagination.

THAI-LEMONGRASS MOJITO

STRAWBERRY AND BEER MOJITO

PASSIONFRUIT MOJITO MOCKTAIL

FROZEN MOJITO SLUSHIE

CRAZIEST MOJITO: CARBONATED MOJITO SPHERE FROM JOSÉ ANDRÉS

Good luck muddling and shaking your way to a great Mojito this summer! Here are some shots of Mojitos for a little more inspiration!

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