Going on the keto diet (or any low-carb diet) doesn’t have to mean eliminating classic cocktails! There are many cocktails and simple mixed drinks you can still enjoy while keeping your carbs in check, and the Mojito is one of them.
The Mojito is a refreshing and bubbly mix of white rum, lime, mint, sparkling water, and a little sweetener (usually simple syrup). For this low carb version, we’re going to make an easy keto-friendly simple syrup.
Keep in mind that if you enjoy unsweetened cocktails like the Vodka Soda, Ranch Water, or Gin Rickey, you can also just omit the sweetener for an ultra refreshing take on this classic summer sipper!
History of the classic Mojito
The Mojito is a traditional Cuban drink with a history dating back to the 1500s. Its origin story is frequently disputed, particularly by “La Bodeguita del medio” in Havana, Cuba, where it is known as “the Cuban equivalent of the Coca-Cola.”
Some say that the cocktail was created by slaves brought to Cuba to labor in its sugarcane fields, and its name may come from the African word “mojo”, meaning to place a little spell due to the drink’s perceived medicinal value.
Originally, the Mojito contained five key ingredients: white rum, sugar (traditionally sugar cane juice), lime juice, soda water, and mint. The combination of sweetness, citrus, and herbaceous mint flavors complemented the rum, making it a popular summer drink.
Over time, the classic Mojito recipe has evolved. Modern Mojitos often include simple syrup instead of sugar cane juice and may feature variations with different types of rum, fruits, or even herbs.
Today, the Mojito is seen as a refreshing, timeless classic enjoyed all around the world – thanks in part to its depiction in the 2002 James Bond film, “Die Another Day.”
Find more simple rum drinks in my Guide to Easy Rum Mixed Drinks!
More than 20 years later, the Mojito continues to hold its place in popular culture and has inspired numerous adaptations and creative twists in cocktail recipes. Its rich history and evolution have led to a truly versatile, classic drink that is equal parts refreshing and intoxicating!
Making classic cocktails keto-friendly
While going on a ketogenic diet can be a challenge for the craft cocktail enthusiast, it is entirely possible to modify certain drinks to meet the low-carb requirement. One of my favorite ways to keto-ify drinks is to use a keto simple syrup instead of sugar-based simple syrup. There are a few different ways to make a keto simple syrup, but my favorite is to use powdered allulose.
What is allulose?
Allulose is a type of sugar that occurs naturally in certain foods, such as figs, raisins, and wheat. It is a monosaccharide, meaning it is a single sugar molecule. Allulose has a similar taste and texture to regular sugar but with significantly fewer calories and a lower impact on blood sugar levels.
What makes allulose unique is that it is not fully metabolized by the body, meaning it contributes fewer calories than regular sugar. It contains about 0.2 to 0.4 calories per gram, compared to regular sugar, which contains 4 calories per gram. This makes allulose an awesome choice for people following low-carb or keto diets.
Allulose is also considered a “rare sugar” because it occurs naturally in small amounts and is not as abundant as other sugars like glucose or fructose. To make allulose more readily available as a sweetener, it’s commercially produced from corn or other sources through a process that enzymatically converts fructose into allulose.
From a taste perspective, allulose provides sweetness without the bitter aftertaste often associated with some other alternative sweeteners like stevia. It also has a similar texture and browning capability to regular sugar when used in baking and cooking.
How to make allulose simple syrup
Technically, a “simple syrup” is one that uses equal parts water and sugar. Powdered allulose is not as sweet as granulated sugar, so it’s necessary to use more allulose to achieve the same level of sweetness.
I like to make an allulose simple syrup with 1.5 parts allulose to 1 part water. You can adjust the amount of allulose to suit your taste. Using 2 parts allulose to 1 part water will yield a sweeter syrup.
Combine the allulose with hot water and stir until all of the allulose dissolves. Once the syrup is cool you can make a batch of Keto Mojitos or store it in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
How to order a keto-friendly Mojito
Want to enjoy a Keto Mojito when out at a bar or restaurant? Simply ask for a Mojito without sweetener/simple syrup/sugar.
While it’s not quite the same, it is still incredibly delicious, cool, and refreshing! It’s also one less step for you bartender, which they may appreciate. Pro tip: You could also ask for a rum and soda with mint and a squeeze of lime. It’s pretty much the same thing in the end.
The best rums for Mojitos
When it comes to making any cocktail, the choice of rum can greatly impact the flavor profile of the drink. Generally, light or white rums are preferred for mojitos due to tradition, their smoothness, and subtle flavor. Here are a few popular options for rum in mojitos:
Mojitos originated in Cuba, and traditionally, Cuban-style rums such as Havana Club are a popular choice. These rums are typically light-bodied with delicate flavors, allowing the mint, lime, and sweetness of the cocktail to shine through.
Puerto Rican Rum
Puerto Rican rums, like Don Q or Bacardi Silver, are also well-suited for mojitos. They have a clean and crisp character, making them a good base for the cocktail. Puerto Rican rums are often described as having a slightly more pronounced flavor profile compared to Cuban-style rums.
Other excellent white rums
Plantation 3 Star is a white rum that blends rums from three different Caribbean regions: Barbados, Jamaica, and Trinidad. It is called “3 Star” to reflect the three distinct styles of rum that are combined to create this spirit.
Unlike traditional white rums, Plantation 3 Star Rum undergoes a unique aging process called “double aging.” After being distilled, the rums are aged separately in their respective countries. Then, they are blended and aged together in oak barrels for an additional period, adding complexity and depth to the final product.
Probitas is a unique rum produced through a collaboration between two well-respected rum distilleries: Foursquare Distillery in Barbados and Hampden Estate in Jamaica. The name “Probitas” is derived from the Latin word meaning “honesty” or “integrity,” reflecting the commitment to quality and authenticity in this rum.
Probitas Rum is a blend of pot still and column still rums from both distilleries, bringing together the distinct characteristics of each. The collaboration combines Foursquare’s expertise in producing high-quality aged rums and Hampden’s reputation for producing flavorful Jamaican rums.
Rhum Agricole: If you’re looking for a more robust and complex flavor profile, consider using agricole rum. This type of rum is made from freshly pressed sugarcane juice rather than molasses and is often associated with the French Caribbean islands, such as Martinique. Agricole rums can impart earthy, grassy, and vegetal notes, which can add depth to your mojito.
Ultimately, the choice of rum for your mojito depends on personal preference, but this list of rum choices will have you well on your way to the perfect Keto Mojito!
- 2 oz white rum
- ¾ oz lime juice
- ¾ oz allulose simple syrup see notes for the easy recipe!
- 5 mint leaves, plus more for garnish
- 4-6 oz club soda or other sparkling water
- Add the syrup and mint leaves to a highball glass and gently muddle.
- Pour the rum and lime juice into the glass and top the mixture with ice. Pebble ice is preferred, but not mandatory.
- Gently churn the mixture with a bar spoon or swizzle stick, then top with club soda.
- Add more ice, if necessary, then garnish with a sprig of mint.
Allulose Simple SyrupIngredients:
- 1.5 cups allulose powder
- 1 cup hot water
- Combine the allulose and hot water and stir until all of the powder has dissolved.
- Allow the syrup to cool, then store in a covered container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.