In honor of Asian American and Pacific Islander Heritage Month, this week we’re whipping up a tasty twist on a classic Mojito. While the true origins of the mojito are likely lost to time, cocktail historians believe it was likely consumed by pirates to ward off scurvy and on the plantations of Cuba and Puerto Rico. Some credit the famous explorer Francis Drake with first creating the cocktail, but wherever it started, it wasn’t really all that popular in the United States until legendary imbiber, and writer, Ernest Hemingway started throwing them back at his home in Havana, Cuba.
While Hemingway is predominantly known for drinking daiquiris in Floridatita, he might as well be credited with bringing mojitos to the American consciousness. “Mi mojito en La Bodeguita, mi daiquiri en El Floridita,” he inscribed on the wall of the legendary cocktail lounge, La Bodeguita del Medio. You don’t have to speak Spanish to understand that Hemmingway was fond of a Mojito. By replacing the rum in a traditional mojito recipe with soju, this famous cocktail quickly becomes a bright, spring-time sipper with a lower alcohol content – meaning you can knock them back like “Papa” and still make it to work the next morning.
Soju is the most widely consumed alcohol in the world, but it is just starting to gain real popularity in the U.S. In Korea soju serves as the unofficial “national beverage” and it is a spirit steeped in tradition. For example, you never pour your own soju, and after the first round, you should never let a glass stay empty. For many Koreans and Korean Americans, soju is the go-to drink for any celebration and it pairs perfectly with all kinds of food. It is a strong, distinct spirit that elevates the sweet, cooling flavor of mint. If you wanna drink like Hemmingway, celebrate a friend’s success, or just unwind and watch the world go by, this Mint Sojito will help get you started.
Prep Time: 5 min
- 3 oz. soju (like Yobo Soju)
- 1 oz. fresh lime juice
- 0.5 oz. simple syrup (or a tablespoon of white sugar)
- 5 sprigs of fresh mint
- Top with sparkling water
- 1 fresh mint sprig
- Muddling ingredients is a great way to impart flavor to a drink, but if you don’t keep a muddler behind the bar it can be a bit intimidating. A long spoon works perfectly well it just takes a little more effort than a hefty muddler. Instead of simply pressing down on the mint in this glass, make sure to slowly press and twist the leaves until they are thoroughly mashed. When garnishing, place the mint in one hand and clap down on it with the other to release the aroma of the mint and serve a fresh, cooling cocktail.
Yobo Soju is a sustainable spirit made with fresh, local Catawba grapes and the pristine water of New York’s Finger Lakes. With gold medals from the World Spirits Competition, Yobo Soju is an award-winning, family-owned soju producer started by a lawyer-mom, Carolyn Kim, and her husband, James Kumm. Soju is a traditional Korean spirit and one of the most consumed alcohols in the world, however there are relatively few soju producers in the United States. With a fraction of the calories of vodka and relatively low alcohol content, Yobo Soju can be sipped, mixed, and savored any time.