Picture this: a glorious summer’s evening, the smell of sausages sizzling away on the BBQ and most importantly, a tantalizing and refreshing cocktail in hand, otherwise known as a Mojito.

You’ll be pleased to hear that on Thursday 11th July, it’s National Mojito Day! Who doesn’t love an excuse to have a cocktail or two?

Not only is it one of the nation’s favourite drinks, but is also globally renowned, ranked 12th in the world for best-selling cocktails in 2019. A classic Mojito, made with the simple ingredients of white rum, soda water, fresh lime juice, sugar and mint, never goes amiss. That’s the beauty of this cocktail – simple yet irresistible, if you ask me.

While indulging in this sweet yet citrusy cocktail, have you ever wondered about its history? Where did it come from? How long has it been around? One undisputed fact is that the birthplace of the Mojito is the lovely sunny Caribbean island of Cuba. However, its exact origin is subject to much debate, with several theories on the matter.

One such theory is that the Mojito was a descendant of a 16th century drink known as “El Draque”, named after Sir Francis Drake. After his invasion of Cartagena de Indias, his crew fell ill with scurvy and dysentery while en route to Havana, Cuba. They went in search of some remedies that would help cure them and came back with the ingredients: aguardiente (a distilled South American liquor), lime, sugarcane juice and mint. Before long, the cocktail “El Draque” was born.

Another theory is that African slaves working in the Cuban sugarcane fields in the late 1800s, influenced the creation of the Mojito. They created an aguardiente mixture using sugarcane juice that is a key ingredient in today’s mojito.

Regardless of its origin, its popularity was noticeably evident in 1930’s Havana which then spread overseas thanks to celebrities like Brigitte Bardot and Ernest Hemingway. Hemingway spent some of his years in journalism based in Cuba where he loved to have a Mojito in La Bodeguita del Medio. If you ever happen to go to this charming island, be sure to go to this famous bar where the owners claim to be the inventors of the Mojito! On the walls, there is also a famous quote engraved by Hemingway that says, “My Mojito in La Bodeguita, My daiquiri in El Floridita”. Fear not if a trip to Cuba isn’t currently on the agenda, head to Cubana in London, Waterloo, for their highly-rated Mojitos and Cuban cuisine.

The Mojito is undoubtedly a crowd-pleaser and its continued popularity is just an indication of how great a cocktail it really is. Plus, with so many exciting versions of the drink, it’s hard not to love! The Mojito cocktail family is extensive, from the pink grapefruit to the kiwi to the pomegranate Mojito. One of my personal favourites is the delightful tangy passionfruit Mojito.

What’s great about a Mojito is that it’s also an easy cocktail to make at home! Here’s a step-by-step recipe on how to make a classic Mojito with Bacardi rum.

Why not raise a glass with your friends on Thursday, to celebrate National Mojito Day! It’d be rude not to!