Mojitos… Gin… and Preventing a Hangover

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What is a Mojito?

The Mojito (mo-HEE toe) is a traditional Cuban highball – a mixed drink composed of an alcoholic base and a non-alcoholic mixer.

The Mojito originated in Cuba and is one of the oldest cocktails in the country. Some say it was invented in the 16th century and originally named “El Draque” in honor of Sir Francis Drake, an English Vice Admiral who led an effort to try and conquer the Caribbean. It was made with aguardiente, a crude form of rum.

However, others say the Mojito was created by African slaves working in the sugarcane fields. Rum comes from sugarcane byproducts such as molasses or sugarcane juice. The name is derived from “mojo” which means “to put a spell on.”

Mojitos were brought back into the public eye when Pierce Brosnan was seen seducing Halle Berry with the drink in the 2002 James Bond film Die Another Day.

A traditional Mojito consists of white rum, sugar, lime juice, sparkling water and mint. It’s not uncommon for mixologists to change things up and modify the ingredients, especially by adding berries or fruit. Sometimes even the mint is removed which really defeats the purpose and makes it an entirely different drink.

In this simple cocktail, I’ve kept the basics of the original idea but added an aromatic twist. The Ginjito is a mojito made with gin which truly enhances the flavor; not just of the botanicals in the alcohol itself but also the minty lime flavor found within the cocktail.


6 mint leaves

1/2 oz. simple syrup

1 oz. lime juice

2 oz. gin

Tonic water

Lime wedge & mint leaves to garnish

Muddle the mint, simple syrup and lime juice in a highball glass. Fill with crushed ice, add gin and top off with tonic water. Stir gently and garnish with a lime wedge and Mint sprigs.

Meet Gin!

Gin is primarily distilled from grain and juniper berries and was discovered in the mid- 17th century. It was most commonly used as an herbal medicine. The British Royal Navy used gin mixed with lime cordial to stop scurvy. The angostura settled the stomach at sea while tonic water with quinine helped prevent malaria.

Over the millennium, gin went from being used in the medical field to becoming a more common cocktail staple. Saying you don’t like gin is like saying you don’t like liquor. No two gins are ever the same – offering a wide diversity or flavors. Gin has helped create more classic cocktails than any other spirit.

London dry gin isn’t always from London! Liquors such as tequila, cognac and scotch are only found in certain parts of the world yet London dry gin doesn’t have the same geographic restrictions – and is easy to make in a variety of areas.

Gin is used for cocktails and never on its own. Like vodka, the botanicals can really come to life if mixed with the right flavor combinations. The common production method is to distill the botanicals with natural grain alcohol; similar to how vodka is processed except the flavor is always natural.

While gin is the unofficial national spirit of England, Holland actually produced it first. However, statistics show that those in the Philippines consume gin the most.

Beer before liquor??

Contrary to urban legend, drinking beer before hard liquor does not make you feel sicker when getting drunk or waking up with a hangover the next morning. It really doesn’t matter in what order your drinks are consumed. If you’re trying to avoid a hangover altogether, the only answer is to not drink too much.

But here are a few tips to help avoid being completely dysfunctional the next morning.

Try to have a big meal before drinking.

Don’t drink too quickly. Chugging is never a good idea.

Drink a glass of water for every glass of alcohol.

Avoid sugary and fizzy drinks

Drink some more water before you go to bed.

In other words… the most important rule is to just drink plenty of water.

Hassett Gravois is a mixology connoisseur who is “shaking things up in an exciting new mix.” She specializes in designing new signature cocktails and recreating the classics.

Hassett Gravois

Hassett Gravois

Twitter: @MixologyExpert

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