Cheers to a Traditiona­l Holiday

Old and new memories are always formed with my favorite Cuban cocktail on a special night of the year.

- By Alejandro Juan

I can picture so many Noche Buenas with the kids gathered in the back yard around the roasted pig in the caja China, and the arroz reaching subtle perfection in the rice cooker. Abuela’s frijoles negros simmering on the stove top, Publix’s Cuban bread warming in the oven, and the tostones already frying. Of course, then Tia Luisa arrives just in time to donate her famous congri, homemade, but overflowin­g in an oversized aluminum pan. And everyone has a drink in hand. My choice? A mojito, of course.

This year, I know most of these traditions will take place on a smaller scale. Maybe some will be on Zoom, but that won’t stop our family from holding up their mojitos and enjoying our Noche Buena, a Cuban tradition alive and well in Miami, where I live. This year, I invite you to sip on a mojito on the special night (and other winter nights). Here’s my own, yet traditiona­l, recipe. (Serves one, at a time.)


10 mint leaves, gently muddled

2 tablespoon­s lime juice, freshly squeezed

1 cup ice cubes

2 ounces Bacardi Superior Rum

6 ounces Sierra Mist (or Sprite)

1 lime wedge, for garnish (optional)

1 sprig mint, for garnish (optional)

1 stick of sugar cane, for garnish (optional)


Place mint leaves and pour lime juice into a tall glass. Use a muddler to crush the mint into the lime juice to release the mint oils. Fill the glass with ice. Pour the rum over the ice, and fill the glass with Sierra Mist.

Garnish with lime wedge, and mint sprig, if desired. And sugar cane (if available). ■

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