(CNN) — The mojito is the Cuban cocktail beloved across the world — from its birthplace of Havana, Cuba, to its adopted city of Miami, Florida.
The rum-based highball is the unofficial trademark drink of Florida’s “Magic City,” which is renowned for its great nightlife.
A trip to Miami wouldn’t be complete without a glass of minty magic on a rooftop bar — so while in the city for a whirlwind 24 hours, CNN’s James Williams learned mojito secrets from the master, Grammy-winner producer and musician Emilio Estefan.
From the charts to the bar
Estefan’s career has spanned decades and industries, from heading up the Miami Sound Machine alongside wife Gloria Estefan to producing musical events at the White House.
The Cuban-born Estefans are also the owners of several Cuban-themed restaurants and bars in their adopted hometown of Miami. Meeting in Estefan Kitchen, the Grammy winner and drinks maestro shows Williams how to rustle up the popular summer drink.
So how is Miami’s mojito different from the Cuban edition? “You get the flavor, man,” says Estefan.
Estefan’s edition uses four local limes, a sprig of mint and homemade sugar syrup. The ingredients are mixed together, and Estefan is generous with the rum. But it’s the sugar cane that he pinpoints as the key ingredient.
From Cuba to Miami
The mojito’s origins are disputed, but it was a Cuban mainstay by the time Ernest Hemingway proclaimed it his favorite drink in the mid-20th century.
There’s a big Cuban immigrant population in Miami — which is how the mojito became a mainstay in Florida. It’s now the staple of the beach city night out: “You’re going to be happy enough,” says Estefan.