5 years ago, Nik came to the eXtreme Hotel on a solo trip to learn kiteboarding, came back every year after and never looked back. This time he made Cabarete his home and joined our team for an internship as a marketing consultant. An avid traveler, Nik worked as a tour leader all across North America and studied tourism management in Montreal, Austria and Finland with a focus on sustainable development and entrepreneurship. When he’s not in the water surfing or kiting, you can find Nik practicing in our Yoga Loft or behind a bar crafting delicious cocktails. Here’s what he has to say about mojitos:
I love mojitos. Don’t get me wrong, it’s one of the best cocktail there is. The fragrant aroma of the mint and flavor of the zesty citrus combined with a hint of caramel from the raw brown sugar crystal, bodied with a fine caribbean rum, and all of it expressed through delicate bubbles that reach your palate first and instantly unleash an overload of freshness that makes you say: Ahhhhh…
I mean, I really love mojitos. But you’ll never see me ordering one at a bar, and I think you shouldn’t either. Here is why: it won’t taste good.
In fact, it might even taste really bad: the bitterness of an overworked mint, too much acidity without the juicy flavor of the lime, the sweetness of some white refined sugar sadly lying at the bottom of the glass and, worst of all, a drink that tastes like cheap rum diluted in warm soda. Yuk! I sure have had my share of bad mojitos at various bars, and the reason is simple: the mojito is one of the simplest yet hardest cocktail to prepare.
When it comes to making cocktails, you need to use fresh ingredients. This is especially true here as only a few cocktails rely as heavily on the quality of its ingredients as the mojito. In fact, aside from the rum and soda water, the whole flavor profile that characterize so distinctively this delicious drink comes from the perfect balance between the oil from the groomed mint, the juice from the lime and the rawness of the brown sugar crystals.
But if using fresh ingredients in cocktails goes without saying, you’d be surprised to know how many bars today still use prebatched juices made from concentrate or don’t even bother having fresh mint on hand. On top of that, chances are your bartender don’t even know the right way to make a great mojito by having the appropriate tools and muddling technique, and most importantly the patience and care this drink requires on a busy night.
As sadly as it is, unless you go to a specialized bar (aka a legit cocktail bar), you probably won’t get the finest ingredients or the dedication and skills a cocktail like this deserves. But the mojito is a renown Caribbean classic for reasons: not only is the rum cheap and savory here, the mint grows plenty in tropical climate and the island life makes for slow living, which is perfect for relaxing while the bartender takes the time to craft your drink.