How to Make an Authentic Mojito Cocktail, Taste of Melbourne Fes

How To Make A Mojito

Cocktail time. A class on how to make a Mojito was one of the highlights of the Taste of Melbourne festival. Out of all the events we went to, the cocktail making lessons were the ones that seemed to excite festivalgoers the most. Long lines, packed sessions, and lots of locals taking their cocktail educations very seriously.

Ran by Bacardi in conjunction with Longrain Melbourne, the Sensology Art of Cocktail Making classes covered the creation of potent classics like daiquiris, pina coladas, cosmopolitans, and mojitos.

We did a group daiquiri-making session first. Fast-paced, fun, and 100% hands-on, each participant worked at a bench with their cocktail equipment (muddler, stirrer, shaker etc), spirits, and ingredients before them, taking direction from an instructor on the stage while staff roamed the room ensuring we all kept up.

After, participants roamed the Royal Exhibition Building sipping their cocktails in super-size plastic glasses.

The daiquiri was invented in 1898 by an American engineer working in Cuba, called Jennings Cox, who took some fresh limes from a tree, mixed the juice with sugar to tone down the sourness, added Bacardi and shook it by hand over some ice. He called it a daiquiri after the town of the same name where he was living in Cuba. The original daiquiri recipe remains the same.

Daiquiri Cocktail recipe

  • 60 ml Bacardi Superior
  • 30ml freshly squeezed lime juice
  • 2 teaspoons of castor sugar
  1. Shake vigorously in a cocktail shaker and strain before serving.

If you missed out on a class, you could get a private one-on-one demo at the Sensology bar, and we did that too, with brand ambassador Martin Newell — and we got a history lesson in the process.

The mojito it seems, whose origins date back to the 15th century, was once called a ‘Draque’, and its base was a throat-burning, distilled sugar cane spirit that was used to ward off sickness. It wasn’t after the late 19th century when the more palatable Bacardi, the world’s first aged white rum, was created, that the mojito — meaning ‘little soul’ — was invented in the early 20th century.

Making mojitos wasn’t new to us. In fact, it was on our second trip overseas to Cuba, way back in the ’90s, that we had our first thirst-quenching mint-filled mojito in Havana’s sultry heat.

We became hooked on the things, sipping several of them every afternoon after a sweaty day strolling around the city taking photos. In those days, they were $1 each!

Back in Sydney, with our duty free Cuban rums, I’d often make mojitos when we had friends over for drinks on a summer’s evening on our balcony overlooking the harbour.

The mojito we learned to make from the Sensology bartender was very close to the mojito of my memory from our time in Cuba, a very different drink to the mojitos often served at bars that can be more akin to a caipirinha.

The only difference was in Cuba they used more lime chunks and a lot more mint, cramming the glass with bunches of leaves so that they appeared to grow from the glass. Mint and lime aside (I recommend adding more of each), it’s the most authentic recipe I’ve ever tasted outside of Cuba.

Mojito Cocktail Recipe

  • 45ml Bacardi Superior
  • 4 lime chunks
  • 8-12 mint leaves
  • 2.5 teaspoons of castor sugar
  • 45 ml soda water
  1. Delicately muddle the limes into the castor sugar so as not to release any bitterness from the skin and rind.
  2. ‘Slap’ the mint loudly between your two hands to ‘wake it up’ to release the aroma, then slip it into the glass.
  3. Half fill the glass with ice, add the Bacardi Superior, and stir.
  4. Add a little more ice if you like, then top with soda water and stir gently to finish.
  5. Garnish with extra mint.

If you’re in Australia, Sensology runs their Art of Cocktail Making classes in conjunction with Longrain bar/restaurant in Melbourne and Sydney. Details here:

There are 10 comments

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  1. ciki

    oooh.. does this mean you will make some for me, when I come visit you? Better yet, since you wanna come to KL for some fab street food, bring your equipment -me and hubby have a booze bar, you could make it right here! haha! 🙂 Great post and pictures!

  2. Lara Dunston

    Ah, but we will have to make some local cocktails when we come to KL! Are there no quintessential KL cocktails? Let us learn one and we’ll make it for you – OR, we can trade cocktail secrets! But, yes, very happy to trade drink for food! 😉

  3. lila fox

    Mojitos are my favorite cocktail! We were just down in the Yucatan Peninsula, and the Mayans have their own version of the Mojito called the Mayajito – same recipe but they crush chaya leaves in as well, Yum!

  4. David B

    For me, mojitos are perfect for the beach, a great companion while viewing the sunset and the people walking by. Just a sip and I’m transported to the beach

  5. E. Thai

    Interesting. At the Bacardi Factory in Puerto Rico, they muddle the mint leaves, not the lime. So how much does a mojito cost these days?

  6. Lara Dunston

    Don’t you love the way a drink (like food I guess) can do that? For us, the mojito will always be associated with trips to Cuba – except when bartenders get it so wrong, it takes like a caipirinha and it takes me to Brazil instead 😉

  7. Lara Dunston

    They seemed to muddle the bottom mint leaves in Cuba too, and then they stuff the drink with springs of mint wherever we had it. I have no idea how much a mojito costs in Cuba these days – it’s been so long since we’ve been – but I’d love to know.

    In Melbourne, Australia, where we’ve been for the last 5 weeks, cocktails can cost AU$19 at a cocktail bar. We were horrified the first time we saw a “Negroni special” for AU$18 – we thought it was a jug of Negroni! At our favourite bar in Venice, they’re 6 euros, which is around AU$7.

    At today’s exchange rate, AU$19 is UK£12, US$ 20, UAE72, and 15 euros. Crazy, no?

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