Recently I managed to get my hands on a bottle of Havana Club Anejo Blanco. Living so close to the Canadian border can have it’s advantages. First, a little history of Havana Club.

Havana Club is distilled in Santa Cruz del Norte, Cuba.   The company was established by José Arechabala in 1878.   After the Cuban Revolution of 1959, the distillery and company was nationalized by the Cuban government; subsequently, the Arechabala family left for Spain, then emigrated to the United States.   Since 1994 it has been produced by Havana Club International, a 50:50 joint venture between Pernod Ricard and the Cuban government. Havana Club Anejo Blanco is a white rum that is aged 3 years in new barrels, giving it a nice strawlike color, and a fresh fruity flavor.

Now of course what better way to sample the famed cuban rum, than to sample it in the quintessential cocktail of Cuba: the mojito. A delectable mixture of rum, sugar, lime, mint and sparkling water, the mojito is one of my all time favorite drinks. A pain in the ass to many bartenders, I do not mind mixing these up at all, in fact, the most frustrating thing to me is juicing limes when they aren’t in season, because they are so stingy on the juice. On to the drink

The Mojito
2 oz light rum
3/4 oz lime juice
8-10 mint leaves
2 tsp sugar
soda water

Now here is where it can get tricky, and everyone has their opinion on the correct procedure. One option is to take the mint, use lime wedges and granulated sugar, and muddle. The idea is that the sugar will help extract flavor from the lime wedges. I don’t like this method myself. First, you can never be sure how much juice you are getting, and if you muddle the lime enough, you will start to extract some bitterness from the peel. Secondly, sugar doesn’t dissolve well in cold water.
My method is to use a measured amount of juice, and sub simple syrup for the granulated sugar. Muddle the mint gently with the juice and syrup, and then fill the glass with ice and add rum. Then you can either roll the drink between two shakers to mix and chill, or stir. Top up with soda when you are ready to serve. This way I know that I am getting a consistent flavor from one drink to the next.