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Mixologists Nix Mojitos

 It’s fairly easy to get a drink in New York City these days---unless you want a Mojito.A bartender preparing mojitos

The New York Post reports that there’s an informal but widespread revolt against the cocktail among Manhattan mixologists. Bartenders regard it as the new Cosmoplitan, and the bane of their existence. Request one, particularly at peak hours, and you’re likely to be told that the bar is out of mint.

The current popularity of the Mojito may be unprecedented, but the cocktail has been around for a long time. According to the Bacardi company, the origins of the drink go back to 1586, when Richard Drake and his band of pirates unsuccessfully assaulted Havana. The modern Mojito consists of light rum, sugar, mint leaves, lime juice and club soda. The sugar, lime juice and mint leaves are muddled together at the bottom of a cocktail glass; the rum is added, the mixture is stirred, and the drink is finished with ice and soda.

So what’s irking the Big Apple’s bartenders about the Mojito? The nearly universal feeling appears to be that the drink is messy, time-consuming to prepare, and not worth the revenue it brings in. “If it’s between midnight and 4 a.m., every bar is out of mint,” quipped one barkeep.

Let’s examine these issues one by one. Messy? God forbid you should make a mess, particularly if you’re working in a bar. Time-consuming? It’s true that the muddling process does take an extra thirty seconds, which can be hard to spare if you’re busy. In truth, though, even a Martini is time-consuming to prepare---if you want to make it carefully and correctly, that is. As to the price of the drink not justifying the labor cost, is that an employee decision? How would you feel if a waiter told you not to order Dover Sole, because the amount of time required to filet the fish tableside didn’t justify the price charged by the house? If so, simply raise the price (assuming you’re the owner, of course).

Sadly, the key point is that these mixologists have decided that the Mojito, like the Cosmo, is uncool and out of fashion. They are the bartenders, after all, and they have the right to decide what you put in your mouth.

 

Mark Spivak is the author of Iconic Spirits: An Intoxicating History, which will be published in November by Lyons Press (Globe Pequot); for more information, go to www.iconicspirits.net.

 


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