If we wanted to, we could highlight a new refreshing, summery cocktail every week until the season was a long-forgotten memory. From the negroni to the gin & tonic to the daiquiri, there seem to be more refreshing cocktails than scorching days on which to sip them. Still, we’ll try our damndest.
Since most of the country got blasted with ridiculously hot weather recently (with more on the horizon), we figured it’s time to prepare for the next heatwave. And whenever the thermometer nears triple digits we’re going to keep cool while drinking mojitos.
“The mojito is all about highlighting strong, sweet and sour, with a straight spirit, sweetener and fresh citrus and mint,” says Nicole Quist, beverage director at Bartaco in Aventura, Florida. “It’s also one of the most refreshing, rum-based cocktails you can mix up.”
When it comes to picking the right rum for the job, it’s best to avoid flavored or dark rums (unless you’re into that sort of thing). Light and drinkable is the name of the game here.
“With the mojito, I always go with a white rum so that the spirit is noticed without overpowering the delicate nature of the mint and citrus,” says Zack Musick, beverage director at Merriman’s in Hawaii.
Since we’re in the business of helping you craft better cocktails, we want to make sure you buy the right rum for this drink (here are some recipes, too!). To aide our cause, we asked some of our favorite bartenders to tell us the best rums for a refreshing, thirst-quenching mojito.
Bacardi Superior Rum
Danny Caffall, lead bartender at The Mansion Bar at Rosewood Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas
Bacardi Superior. It’s like it was made for mojitos. It takes on the flavor of the mint and citrus so well and is light, crisp, and not too over-powering. The mojito is one of those drinks that is best kept simple. Bacardi Superior is readily available and perfect for the hot summer afternoons.
Nancy Conaway, bartender at Republic Street Bar in Fort Worth, Texas
If I’m making a mojito, I use Tiburon Rum. It’s a Belizean rum that’s small batch and aged, plus super smooth with a fabulous Caribbean feel that’s sure to make any mojito a hit.
Caña Brava White Rum
Zack Musick, beverage director at Merriman’s in Hawaii
While going with a classic Cuban rum will hold onto the integrity of a classic mojito, I prefer to use the Panamanian rum, Caña Brava developed by the 86 Company. Caña Brava is modeled after the clean crisp Cuban style and will typically cost less than $30. To make this rum, the 86 Company partnered with master distiller, Don Pancho, a Cuban native who learned the “Cuban Method” of distillation through 35 years of experience before moving to Panama to continue the traditional methods he learned in Cuba.
Plantation 3 Stars Rum
Kenneth McCoy, chief creative officer at The Rum House in New York City
I use Plantation 3 Stars White Rum. This Caribbean blend of Jamaican, Barbados, and Trinidad rums is smooth, with flavors of sweet grass and coconut. It’s perfect in a mojito or a Daiquiri.
Cruzan Coconut Rum
Robert Swain Jr., owner of OnTheRoX Bartending Services in the British Virgin Islands
I know it’s unorthodox in the bartending world, but I prefer to use a sweet rum in my mojito, that way I eliminate using simple syrup or sugar. Any flavored Cruzan works for me, but my top choices are coconut or vanilla. Smooth and very flavorful.
Flor de Caña 4 Year Extra Seco Rum
Nicole Quist, beverage director at Bartaco in Aventura, Florida
At Bartaco, we love Flor de Caña 4 Year Extra Seco Rum out of Nicaragua, a Spanish style rum, and are proud to partner with a fair trade certified and sustainably produced, naturally aged rum. We shake up flor de Caña in the moment muddled limes, and the result is a pure, refreshing cocktail where the natural vanilla and clean citrus notes of the rum itself shine.
Havana Club 3-Year-Old Rum
James Simpson, beverage director at Espita in Washington, DC
The best Mojito Rum has to be Havana Club 3 Year. The rich sugar cane flavor and light oak is perfect for the citrusy minty cocktail. Bonus points if you can get a hold of the right mint species grown in Cuba [M. nemorosa].
Probitas White Rum
Tim Wiggins, co-owner and beverage director of Yellowbelly in St. Louis
Probitas White Rum is my favorite mojito rum because it has a creamy texture and soft coconut tones without any sweetness. The best mojito rums should be crisp and dry. I think there are so many rums not to use in a mojito so I could really go down a rabbit hole there.
Charanda Uruapan Blanco Rum
Stephen Kurpinsky, U.S. brand ambassador for Mr Black Cold Brew Coffee Liqueur
Charanda Urupuan Blanco Rum is great to use for a Mojito. It’s an amazingly complex, interesting rum that comes in at a great price. This half cane/half molasses-based rum hails from Michoacan, Mexico, and will blow you away with both savory and sweet notes.
Diplomatico Planas Rum
This un-aged rum from Venezuela is so silky and smooth you’ll want to drink it on its own. But, the underlying vanilla and coconut flavors are perfectly suited to be mixed with muddled mint, lime, and soda water to create the most refreshing mojitos imaginable.