I love making cocktails that are more than just a drink – an experience in a glass. Something that changes or evolves in your hands and glass. It is also a huge bonus when that cocktail has a fantastic story behind the ingredients that make it just unforgettable. Hence my love of playing with foods like Cotton Candy. There are several reasons why this Cotton Candy Mojito is exceptional; while it is a whimsical cocktail it has a unique history. Yep, that’s right! Time for another Cocktail History Class!
Cotton Candy History
The history here is behind the blending of the Mojito and Cotton Candy. Cotton Candy began its life known and patented as “Fairy Floss” in 1897. That year a dentist named William Morrison and a confectioner, John Wharton, got together and built the first prototype for the delicious dessert. It was introduced at the Saint Louis Fair, circa 1904, and became an enormous hit. The “Fairy Floss” was a staple and spread quickly to every part of America and, soon after, around the world. It wouldn’t be until the patent ran out on the floss machine that it became known as what we call it today – cotton candy.
Mojito Origin Story
Now, let’s get to the cocktail portion of the history class! The Mojito has several theories on how it originated. The great part about cocktails is many of them have an interesting past and a disputed origin story. Mojito is definitely in the realm. For me, I love the story that the famous English pirate, Sir Francis Drake, invented this concoction in the 1500s after a failed attempt to take over the island of Cuba. His men were severely ill and were rapidly dying of scurvy and dysentery. Having a medicinal elixir that is packed with vitamin C would really do the trick to get his men back to health, so he got to work on ‘rigging’ one up.
Since Rum had yet to be invented they would have used a harsh spirit known as Aquadente. Mint and sugar would have been added to make this much more palatable, and of course, citrus was necessary to fulfill the need for Vitamin C. Now that we have touched on the very fun history, let’s honor the past and celebrate the now with this refreshing cocktail. Keep in mind, this is not a sweet cocktail. It is very bright and a hint tart, so you may want to add a touch of simple syrup or agave if you prefer the flavor profile of a classic mojito.
Behind the Bar hacks
Expressing Herbs Properly
Most people muddled their herbs, but we are professionals here – we know better. To properly express your herbs, in this case, your mint, simply clap it in your hands to release the oils. That’s it! Now you may ask, “Rob, of course, I already knew this, but why exactly should I not muddle herbs?” Well, that is a great question and I would love to tell you. Herbs are incredibly delicate. When you muddle them they become bitter due to the chlorophyll that is released. That bitterness then must be countered by the use of previously unnecessary sugars to balance the cocktail. Expressing an herb (or spanking one, as I like to say) gives you that same flavor without bitterness.
Cheers, ya’ll –
Here is to the brilliant dentists of the world who gave us our Cotton Candy and the pirate mixologist Sir Francis Drake.
Sip Boldly, Everyone!
The Cotton Candy Mojito
2 oz. Silver Rum
.75 oz. Fresh lime juice
1 ball of cotton candy
5-7 pieces of mint
2-3 oz. of Club Soda
Edibled gold dust, optional ( I like this one)
Glassware: your choice between Champagne flute, martini, or coupe glass
Garnish: fresh mint leaves
In a mixing tin combine 5 pieces of expressed mint, fresh lime juice, and Rum. Shake with ice for 8-10 seconds. Add 2-3 oz. of club soda to the tip. Don’t shake the soda!! Place a big ball of cotton candy in your cocktail glass of choice and pour the cocktail over the top to see the cotton candy disappear.