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10 Refreshing Facts About Mojitos

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Happy National Mojito Day! To celebrate, grab a tall glass, your favorite sunglasses, and read about one of Cuba’s favorite cocktails. 

1. This mixed drink is more than 500 years old. 

The history of this aged drink is a mystery, but most are sure it was concocted in the 1500s, making it one of the oldest mixed drinks still consumed today.  

2. Pirates may have played a part in its creation …

Sir Francis Drake was hailed across England as a hero, and was knighted by Elizabeth I after helping defeat the Spanish Armada. But to the Spanish, he was a ruthless pirate known as El Draque. It is said that a mojito-like drink was invented after Drake found himself near the city of Havana. Called El Draque, the cocktail had aguardiente (early rum), sugar, lime and mint. Originally, the drink was used for medicinal purposes, to help treat scurvy and dysentery. When the aguadiente was replaced with rum, the mojito was born. 

3. … But the origin of its name tells a different story. 

Mojo means a magic charm or talisman. It likely has roots in an African language. Some believe that the name was introduced by the slaves in Cuba who worked on sugar cane farms. This theory is often dismissed by historians who think this is more likely the origin of the word daiquiri

4. Hemingway loved them. 

Ernest Hemingway loved a good drink, and mojitos definitely fit that bill. While spending time in Cuba, the writer often patronized La Bodeguita del Medio in Havana, a bar that claimed to have invented the modern-day mojito. He picked up the drink and spread its popularity stateside. 

5. James Bond (and Halle Berry) helped make them popular again.

Pierce Brosnan’s Bond enjoys a mojito while chatting up Jinx (Halle Berry) in the 2002 movie Die Another Day. The scene led to a spike in popularity for the otherwise underappreciated drink. 

6. They're big in Poland. 

According to Google Trends, Poland Googles the term “mojito” more than any other country in the world. 

7. Britain enjoys them too. 

The Mixed Drinks Report, which was done by consultancy firm CGA Strategy, found mojitos to be the most popular drink in Great Britain in 2014. Cocktail sales in general have risen 10 percent from 2012 to 2014 as more Brits are enjoying sweeter alcoholic beverages. 

8. Honey and ginger ale make mojitos even better.

Mixologist Kenji Jesse recently gave the DailyMail some advice for the perfect mojito. Replacing sugar syrup with honey and switching soda water for ginger ale will give your cocktail a more complex flavor. He also recommends crushing your ice with a rolling pin and using pre-frozen glasses.   

9. And so do these special ice cubes. 

Normal ice cubes melt and water down your drink, but the Huffington Post has come up with a solution. Mojito cubes are equal parts water, sugar, and lime juice. You can also drop these into a glass of rum if you're in the mood for something stiffer. 

10. There are lots of variations. 

The mojito recipe doesn’t have to be completely rigid. You can play around by adding new ingredients, like fresh fruit or flavored rum. Not in the mood for a drink? Try these mojito cupcakes.

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Richard Brendon
This $56 Glass Is Perfectly Suited to All Styles of Wine
Richard Brendon
Richard Brendon

People who take their wine seriously tend to own different glasses for different types of wine. Decor website Home Stratosphere, for instance, identified 18 wine glasses—each shaped differently to complement the unique flavors and fragrances of a Bordeaux, a Burgundy, and other kinds of red, white, and dessert wines.

If you don’t want to spare the expense or the cupboard space for all those glasses, you may want to check out Richard Brendon’s $56 wine glass, which is said to be suited to all types of wine. As spotted by Fast Company, the “1 Wine Glass” is the result of a collaboration between Brendon, a London-based product designer, and wine critic Jancis Robinson.

Robinson said that when Brendon asked her to help design a range of wine glasses, she was “insistent” that they design one single glass. “I love white wine as much as red and have never understood why white wine glasses are routinely smaller than those designed for red wine,” Robinson said in a statement, adding that white wines can be just as complex as reds. “It just seems so obvious and sensible to have one single wine glass for all three colors of wine—especially when so many of us are short of storage space.”

To get it just right, they toiled with the thinness of the glass, the length of the stem, the curvature, the opening, and the overall practicality (Robinson said it had to be dishwasher safe, and indeed, the finished result is). The result is a 125ml handcrafted glass that can be used for all types of wine, including champagne, port, and sherry. The duo also designed a stemless water glass and two decanters. The items can be purchased on Richard Brendon's website.

[h/t Fast Company]

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iStock
A European C02 Shortage Has Led to Beer Rationing in the UK—in the Middle of the World Cup
iStock
iStock

An international shortage of food-grade carbon dioxide is posing a significant threat to summer fun this year—including for soccer fans headed to bars to watch the World Cup. The lack of bubbles affects beer, cider, and soda makers, and as a result, a UK wholesaler just started rationing drink supplies, according to CNBC.

The wholesaler, Booker, supplies bars, restaurants, and stores, but it's currently rationing its customers to 10 cases of beer and five cases of cider or soft drinks each. Heineken has also warned that shortages of Amstel and John Smith's beers are coming, and Coca-Cola was forced to temporarily pause production of some of its sodas.

The shortage of CO2 is the result of closures at several gas-producing plants in Europe. A number of ammonia plants and bioethanol plants—both of which provide food-grade CO2—shut down for planned repair work this summer. Their shutdowns just happened to coincide with the season of the year when everyone wants to either be outside with a refreshing fizzy drink or downing beers at a sports bar watching the World Cup. (That's particularly true in the UK, where fans will gather to watch England play Colombia on July 3.)

Fortunately, the situation should eventually repair itself, putting cold beers back in the hands of anyone who wants one.

"We'd like to reassure beer drinkers that all our breweries are operating at full capacity, and we're working 24/7 to get beers to our customers as quickly as possible," a Heineken spokeswoman said in a statement this week, according to the BBC.

[h/t CNBC]

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