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Can I Substitute Vodka for Rum in a Mojito?

by Cassie Damewood

Mojitos are the favorite mixed drink of many people, especially during hot weather. They are quite thirst-quenching and bursting with the tastes of fresh, crushed mint leaves and freshly squeezed lime juice. Mojitos are traditionally made with either gold or light rum but vodka as well as other liquors can be substituted, although the tropical taste of rum will be missing.

Liquor Substitutes for Mojitos

Besides vodka, you can use tequila, gin or bourbon to make a mojito. The drink won't taste like the original recipe but it will still be full of fresh flavors and equally invigorating. The texture isn't affected by replacing the rum in the drink and you can mix different hard liquors in the same drink for unique tastes. Spiced or flavored rum as well as infused vodkas also add a layer of flavor to mojitos.

Traditional Mojito Ingredients

Mint is the key ingredient that makes a mojito unique. The traditional way to infuse the cocktail with the essence of mint is to muddle the leaves and a squeeze of lime juice in the bottom of a tall glass, pitcher, or punch bowl, depending on the volume you're making, before the rest of the ingredients are added. Muddling is a technique that uses a long wooden pestle that resembles a small baseball bat with one large rounded end and one skinnier end. The large end gently mashes the mint leaves and the other end is used to mix in the other components. Sugar or simple syrup is added and then rum, lime juice and vodka are mixed in and topped with club soda and crushed ice. A lime wedge and fresh mint sprig are customary garnishes.

Mixer Variations

Although bottled club soda is usually used to add carbonation to a mojito, you can also use seltzer water. Using lemon-lime soda or, for lime lovers, straight lime soda, makes the drink considerably sweeter than club soda does. Tonic water is not a good option as it imparts the drink with a bitter, quinine taste. If you prefer a non-carbonated mojito, simply replace the soda with a splash of water.

Garnishes and Other Options

Instead of lime wedges, some mojitos are garnished with a lemon slice or wedge, or both fresh lemon and lime. Fresh mint sprigs are normally part of the mojito garnish, regardless of the type of liquor used. Bars occasionally offer variations on mojitos that include the addition of fruits such as strawberries or blackberries.

About the Author

Cassie Damewood has been a writer and editor since 1985. She writes about food and cooking for various websites, including My Great Recipes, and serves as the copy editor for "Food Loves Beer" magazine. Damewood completed a Bachelor of Arts in English with an emphasis in creative writing at Miami University.