When it comes to Christmas-adjacent beverages, one perhaps imagines egg nog and its many variations, velvety Tom and Jerry cocktails and spice-laden mulled wine. Maybe more modern viral drinks come to mind, like the electric green-hued Grinch cocktail, the baby blue Jack Frost and the treacly sugar cookie martini. We venture that prior to the era of social media, few imbibers associated Yuletide with the famously tropical mojito, which far more likely conjures images of white-sand beaches than white-out snow conditions.
And yet. We do live in the age of social media, and the Christmas mojito is fast becoming a staple on the online holiday cocktail circuit. The hashtag #christmasmojito currently has 2.5 million views on TikTok, with videos like this one from user @styledbydaises, which depicts a coconut milk-laden libation, garnering more than 30K likes since it was posted in early November. But the hashtag has even bigger hits associated with it going back years, with this 2022 iteration by @liv.yah snagging more than 141K likes, and this pink-hued, cranberry juice-spiked version from 2021 by @niamh.jpeg garnering more than 58K.
Unsurprisingly, Google searches for “Christmas mojito” spike every year in December, so we have a feeling we’re only at the beginning of the drink’s annual moment in the spotlight. For what it’s worth, the search platform currently estimates that this year’s spike will be greater than those in years past. Translation: Get ready to see Christmas mojitos everywhere.
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How We Dress It Up
We at Wine Enthusiast are not immune to the charms of online drinks influencers, but we like to interrogate recipes and find ways to elevate them. That’s why we turned to Assistant Editor Jacy Topps to see what magic she could work on what’s shaping up to be a modern Christmas classic.
Topps told us that at first, the challenge seemed tricky. “I was trying to figure out how to make a make a mojito Christmas-y, because that’s not the first thing that comes to mind when you think of a mojito,” she admits. But the fact that so many online versions lean on coconut milk helped her overcome any misgivings. “I was like, ‘Oh! A white Christmas mojito.”
Topps felt many online versions skew overly sweet, so her interpretation opts for unsweetened canned coconut milk. “You’re already adding sugar with the mint and lime that you’re muddling,” she explains. “And rum is naturally sweet.”
Coconut rum can be a sugar bomb, but Topps chose to include a measured half-ounce. (Light rum does the heavy lifting in the alcohol department.) The coconut rum “elevates the tropical feeling”—it is, after all, still a mojito—but in a small enough amount that the drink isn’t cloying.
Topps also included another classic mojito ingredient, which many online recipes omit: club soda. “A traditional mojito, depending on where you are, has club soda or Sprite,” Topps says. “You want a bright effervescent lift—club soda lifts and brightens all the flavors without adding the sugar.”
As for the garnish? Online versions are all over the place—some use a mint spring, while others use dried cranberries. Topps went for jewel-like cranberry arils and mint leaves. “I wanted something brought in festive color,” she says.
The process of developing the recipe now has Topps thinking about what she wants to serve at her own Christmas gathering this year. A Christmas mojito might make an appearance—or perhaps an apple cider margarita or mistletoe margarita. Topps is leaving the question open for now. At Christmastime, “it’s great to experiment with flavors.”
How to Make a Christmas Mojito
- 2 ounces light rum
- ½ ounce coconut rum
- 4 ounces unsweetened canned coconut milk
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 8 mint leaves
- 4 lime slices
- 1 ounce club soda
- Pomegranate arils, for garnish
Published: December 8, 2023