Three fresh mint sprigs - the best sprigs are slightly 'woody' from old established
plants rather that from the young plants where they are 'greener'
Two tablespoons of sugar - white cane sugar, or better yet some sugar cane
One whole lime - lime is best but half a lemon will do
Chilled soda water - it should be really cold, just above freezing point
A shot of white silver dry rum - Havana Club Anjeo Blanco Silver Dry if you want
some real authenticity but Bacardi Carta Blanca works well; however any white rum
Place two of the sprigs of mint into a tall glass using a spoon and lightly crush
them around the inside of the glass; not too hard though, just enough to release
the mint flavours.
Add the sugar and the juice of half a lime. Give it a quick stir and fill the glass
Next, add the shot of rum (remember the shots are often quite generous in Cuba) then
fill to the top with soda water and stir.
Finally, take the last sprig of mint and roughly rip the leaves off, use them as
a garnish with a slice of lime to top it off, sit back and enjoy.
Being quite an old cocktail there are a number of alternative recipes about; a favourite
is to replace the white rum with dark rum; the better the rum, the nicer the end
result. If you try this method brown sugar tends to suit the drink more than white
sugar. Other alternatives that work well are to use citrus flavour white rums or
to add a dash of bitters at the end of the mix; again try to use Angostura Bitters
from Trinidad and Tobago for that authentic Caribbean feel. Finally try different
juices instead of the normal lime or lemon. Other citrus fruits are the obvious choice
here but passion fruit and pineapple also work. Just remember, whatever you do always
use fresh mint as it tastes so much better.