The other night, I was having dinner at Boulevard with two friends who do not drink. One friend commented, "You know one of the things I regret about not drinking? I missed the mojito."
Missed the mojito. How can anyone miss the mojito? It's everywhere. Everywhere. I examined the tables around us and noticed glasses pasted with the telltale bruised mint on two of them. In February.
As a waiter, I see people ordering them all the time. All the time. I cringe when I order them because I know the bartenders are going to hate me. When one person orders a mojito, invariably, someone else will say, "Oh! I'll have one of those, too." and then the question and following anecdote are generally uttered (well, I have heard this exact exchange twice in the past month-- enough to trip my trendy alarm) to any remaining non-mojito-ordering guests, "Have you ever had a mojito? I discovered them at such-and-such-a-place." Funny, I didn't know sheep could actually discover anything, unless it was a patch of grass uneaten by cows. Or that they secretly thrill at the approach of a Greek man. Discover? My cloven foot.
The fact is (or legend, at least) that mojitos, or some variation thereof, have been with us for a very long time. This is a classic cocktail, drunk in one form or another for since perhaps the late 16th century when the pirate Richard Drake created for himself a beverage of aguardiente (an unrefined rum), lime, sugar and mint. He named it El Draque (The Dragon). Pirates do not typically shy away from self-promotion. This concoction has been drunk for centuries in Cuba and the various other Caribbean lands Drake terrorized.