Mojito fans will love these lesser-known cocktail recipes

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These citrussy, minty cocktail recipes will give the Cuban classic a run for its money. 

It’s hard not to love a mojito. A blend of white rum, lime juice, fresh mint leaves, sugar syrup, soda water and crushed ice, the cocktail has its roots in 1920s Cuba, and is now found on drinks menus all over the world. It’s also pleasingly simple to make at home. At its most basic, all you need to do to muddle the mint and syrup, add the rum, lime and ice, then top with soda water. 

But once you’ve mastered the art of the mojito, you might be itching to try another cocktail that ticks the same refreshing, citrussy, minty boxes. Fortunately, there are plenty of those in Adrienne Stillman’s new book Spirited: Cocktails from Around the World (Phaidon). A meticulously researched, 431-page bible, Spirited is packed with recipes for hundreds of cocktails, spanning the past 500 years and 60 countries – including lots of lesser-known drinks that will go down a storm with mojito fans. 

Below, Stillman shares five mojito-esque recipes to try at home – plus a basic recipe for simple syrup that will serve you well whatever cocktail you’re making. Love white rum? Try the queen’s park swizzle, a Trinidadian cocktail that’s strikingly similar to the mojito (except for the added Angostura bitters). The daisy de santiago is another lime-forward Cuban cocktail from the 1920s, but it’s much less minty than a mojito, and includes a herby, yellow French liqueur called Chartreuse.

If you prefer dark rum to white, you’ll love the old cuban, a modern champagne cocktail invented at the Pegu Club in New York. And if you’re more into gin or vodka, try whipping up a batch of southsides or ivy gimlets. Your next DIY cocktail hour awaits… 

Simple cocktail syrup recipe

Yield: about 360ml

Ingredients

  • 250ml water
  • 200g white sugar
  • 30ml vodka (optional)

Hot method

Combine the water and sugar in a pan over medium heat, taking care not to boil as this will change the water to sugar ratio. Stir until all the sugar dissolves.

Remove from the heat and transfer to a resealable, airtight container. Cool before using. When refrigerated the syrup keeps for 3–4 weeks.

Cold method

Combine the water and sugar in a resealable, airtight container and shake until all the sugar dissolves. When refrigerated the syrup keeps for 1–2 weeks.

To extend the shelf life of the syrup, add the vodka (or other neutral grain spirit).

Old cuban cocktail recipe

old cuban cocktail recipe

New York, NY, United States / Modern

Audrey Saunders created this sparkly hybrid of a french 75 and a mojito at her bar, New York’s Pegu Club.

Ingredients

  • 30ml aged rum
  • 15ml fresh lime juice
  • 15ml simple syrup
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters
  • 8–10 mint leaves
  • 30–60ml brut-style champagne or dry sparkling wine
  • Mint leaf, to garnish

Method

Combine the first five ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice. Shake vigorously for 15–20 seconds, or until the shaker is frosted on the outside.

Double strain into a coupe and top with the brut-style champagne or dry sparkling wine.

Garnish with a mint leaf.

Southside cocktail recipe

southside cocktail recipe

United States / 1920s – 1940s

Many unconfirmed reports of this cocktail’s creation exist. Some believe it came from Chicago’s South Side during Prohibition; others think that it comes from the Southside Sportsmen’s Club on Long Island. Manhattan’s 21 Club also claims it as its own creation. There, they serve it long in a collins glass over ice with a mint spring for garnish.

Ingredients

  • 60ml gin
  • 30ml fresh lime juice
  • 22ml simple syrup
  • 8–10 fresh mint leaves
  • 2 dashes Angostura bitters (optional)
  • Mint leaf, to garnish

Method

Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously for 15–20 seconds, or until frosted on the outside.

Double strain into a coupe.

Garnish with a mint leaf.

Variations

  • For an east side cocktail, muddle a few cucumber slices with the mint and garnish with a fresh cucumber slice.
  • Substitute vodka or tequila for the gin.
  • Serve in a highball glass over fresh ice and top with club soda.
  • Add 1–2 dashes of absinthe to make the french pearl cocktail.

Ivy gimlet cocktail recipe

ivy gimlet cocktail recipe

Los Angeles, CA, United States / 1980s – 1990s

The signature cocktail of The Ivy restaurant in Los Angeles.

Ingredients

  • 60ml vodka
  • 30ml fresh lime juice
  • 22ml simple syrup
  • 8–10 mint leaves
  • Lime wheels, lime wedge, and mint sprig to garnish

Method

Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously for 10–15 seconds, or until frosted on the outside.

Double strain into a wine glass filled with lime wheels, mint leaves, and crushed or pebble ice.

Garnish with a mint sprig and lime wedge.

Variation

Top with a spritz of club soda.

Daisy de santiago cocktail recipe

daisy de santiago cocktail recipe

Cuba / 1920s – 1940s

A daisy with yellow Chartreuse that results in a mellow, slightly herbal cocktail. According to Charles Baker in his 1939 The Gentleman’s Companion, he was introduced to it by the Bacardi family in Cuba and considers it “along with the immortal daiquiri … the best Bacardi drink on record.”

Ingredients

  • 60ml white rum
  • 30ml fresh lime juice
  • 22ml simple syrup
  • 7ml yellow Chartreuse
  • 15ml club soda
  • Mint sprig, to garnish

Method

Combine all the ingredients in a cocktail shaker filled with ice and shake vigorously for 15–20 seconds, or until frosted on the outside.

Strain into a coupe and top with a splash of club soda.

Garnish with a mint sprig.

Variations

  • Use aged rum instead of white.
  • Add 1/2 tsp yellow Chartreuse as a float or increase the amount to 15ml for a more herbal flavour.

Queen’s park swizzle cocktail recipe

queens park swizzle cocktail recipe

Trinidad / 1920s – 1940s

A minty swizzle from the Queen’s Park Hotel in Trinidad that is akin to a mojito.

Ingredients

  • 8–10 mint leaves
  • 22ml simple syrup
  • 60ml white rum
  • 30ml fresh lime juice
  • 4 dashes Angostura bitters
  • Mint sprig, to garnish

Method

Combine the mint leaves and simple syrup in a collins glass and muddle gently.

Add the remaining ingredients, fill the glass two-thirds with crushed ice and swizzle until the glass is frosted.

Add the bitters and top off with more crushed ice to fill the glass.

Garnish with a mint sprig.

Variations

  • Use aged rum instead of white rum, or a mix of both.
  • Use 2 dashes each Angostura and Peychaud’s bitters.

From Spirited: Cocktails from Around the World by Adrienne Stillman (£35, Phaidon), out now

Photography: Andy Sewell

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