Iconic Vices: Mojito
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Known to be born in Havana, Cuba, the exact origin of the Mojito is the subject of debate. It was known that the local South American Indians had remedies for various tropical illnesses, so a small boarding party went ashore on Cuba and came back with ingredients for an effective medicine. The ingredients were aguardiente de caña (translated as "burning water", a crude form of rum made from sugar cane) mixed with local tropical ingredients: lime, sugarcane juice, and mint. Lime juice on its own would have significantly prevented scurvy and dysentery, and tafia/rum was soon added as it became widely available to the British (ca. 1650). Mint, lime and sugar were also helpful in hiding the harsh taste of this spirit.
Today, the mojito is one of the most famous rum-based highballs, and deserves to be constructed with respect and care.