The Mojito is the Devil’s gift to bartenders. Made with fresh mint, white rum, lime, seltzer and a bartender’s sweat and tears, this refreshingly effervescent mess is the worst cocktail you could ever order at a bar. And though he or she may smile while they muddle, your bartender secretly hates you for ordering one. As a bartender myself, I count myself among the anti-Mojito-ites. Here’s why.
I can make 20 Manhattans in the time it takes me to make one Mojito.
Seriously. You would think that a cocktail as regal as the Manhattan would be difficult to mix up in large volumes, but once you master your two-handed stirring technique and can perform cocktail jiggery, you’re golden. A single Mojito however, requires patience, focus and the dedication of both hands. The ice has to be perfectly pounded into frosty pulp. The mint has to be groomed and washed. The seltzer has to have the tiniest, Champagne-esque bubbles. And it is physically impossible to muddle two drinks at once. But give me four mixing glasses and two bar spoons and I’ll have you a pyramid of 40 Manhattans in five minutes. Time is money and your Mojito is costing me both.
Your Mojito is never going to taste as good as you think it’s going to taste.
Even if you don’t care that a Mojito is a waste of a bartender’s time, consider the fact that it’s a waste of your tastebuds. Most bartenders will over muddle the mint in seething hatred, impatience or sheer ignorance and instead of releasing crisp, bright, minty oils into your cocktail, the pulverized herb will infuse your drink with muddy and bitter flavors. And now no one’s happy and it’s all your fault.
Only tourists order Mojitos.
The only people who order Mojitos are from out of town. They’re Italian men in their 40s wearing linen suits and Ray-Bans, trying to impress a group of girls at the bar with their cocktail knowledge. They order a full round of Mojitos at the height of rush and then suddenly everyone in the bar wants one. Now picture yourself as the bartender: You’re making dozens of Mojitos (one at a time, of course), you’re sweating profusely and your bicep looks like Popeye’s after eating a can of spinach from all of that muddling your doing. Instead of ordering a Mojito, act like a local and look at the beautiful cocktail menu. It’s there for a reason.
There is NEVER a right time to order a Mojito.
Unless its 10 a.m. on a Tuesday, completely dead in the bar (like, tumbleweed-passing-through dead), I have nothing to do except fold napkins for dinner service, you happen to be the only customer, we become friends, you ask really, really nicely for one and a bunny rabbit flies by the window on bat wings—then and only then will I make you the best damn Mojito you ever did drink. And I’ll spend at least 15 minutes making it for you, muddling that mint oh so gently.