Though its exact origin is hotly debated, the mojito—a lightly sweet cocktail made with rum, lime, and mint—has roots in Cuba. It likely evolved from the Draque, another lime- and mint-based cocktail, with origins going back to Sir Francis Drake, whose crew landed in Havana in the late 1500s with hosts of illnesses, and turned to local indigenous communities for a remedy said to be made with mint, lime, and sugarcane juice. As Ravi DeRossi, Jane Danger, and Alla Lapushchik write in the book Cuban Cocktails: 100 Classic and Modern Drinks, the first so-called mojitos were likely made at Cuban bars in the 1930s, popularized at one in Havana, La Bodeguita del Medio, by Ernest Hemingway. The coconut mojito—sometimes known as the cojito—came along later.
The coconut mojito’s main flavor comes from coconut milk, coconut-flavored liqueurs, or coconut rum, like Malibu. This version of the drink is simply made with canned coconut milk, and it’s deeply refreshing, sweetened with simple syrup (which you can make in advance and stash in the refrigerator) and served in a tall glass filled with ice. A classic mojito is typically stirred, not shaken, but when making this variation with canned coconut milk, a good shake is necessary to completely emulsify the milk into the other liquids in the drink. (If you like drinks that are really sweet, you can use pre-sweetened cream of coconut instead.) This coconut mojito is finished with a splash of club soda, which adds just a subtle fizz, kind of reminiscent of a classic egg cream, but you can always leave it out if you prefer the cocktail a bit more potent. —Rebecca Firkser
In a small saucepan over medium-high heat, whisk together the sugar and water until the sugar is dissolved. Remove from the heat, cool, and transfer to an airtight container. You won’t use it all in the drink, so store leftovers in the refrigerator for up to 1 month.
In a cocktail shaker, muddle the mint leaves and simple syrup. Fill the shaker halfway with ice, then add rum, coconut milk, and lime juice. Cover and shake the drink until very cold, about 20 to 30 seconds.
Fill a tall glass with ice and strain the cocktail into the glass. Top with club soda and a mint sprig.
How to Make Easy Pre-Dinner Cocktails | Dear Test Kitchen