Cuba may be the birthplace of the mojito, but it’s at a Hollywood hot spot, a restaurant and salsa club tucked into a nondescript shopping center, that the popular rum-and-lime spritzer is making its biggest West Coast splash. El Floridita, named after a historic Havana fish restaurant and cocktail bar frequented by Ernest Hemingway, serves good Cuban food, even better Cuban music and one of the best mojitos in the country. It’s nothing fancy, just 20 tables, but anyone in the area will tell you it’s an institution. Regulars include Jennifer Lopez, Pitbull, and Eva Longoria.
Having in lived in Los Angeles and been a regular too I can tell you: it lives up to the hype. So I tracked down owner Armando Castro Jr. whose family has run the place for 25 years—and who I confess is an old friend—to squeeze out of him the recipe for his most famous mojito. Enjoy!
3 sprigs fresh mint
2 lime wedges
2 tsp sugar
1.5 oz white rum
1 tsp Rose’s lime juice
Place the mint and lime wedges in a sturdy glass. Using the back of a spoon or a muddler, mash the mint and lime together so the oil from the leaves and lime juice combine. Add sugar and continue muddling until ingredients are well incorporated. Fill the glass with ice about 3/4 of the way full. Add rum and Rose’s lime juice. Stir or shake, but do not strain. Top with soda water to the rim and serve.