Audrey Saunders is a New York bartending legend, best known for her work at Soho’s Pegu Club, where she mentored a roster that includes some of today’s most talented barkeeps. In addition to her penchant for attracting and fostering top talent, she’s also credited with creating several enduring cocktails, many of which are still served at bars around the world.
A few of those drinks, including the Gin Gin Mule and the Old Cuban, predate Pegu Club. The Old Cuban was created by Saunders in 2001, while she was working at a midtown restaurant called Beacon and the cocktail renaissance was just beginning.
The cocktail takes inspiration from the Mojito, but it features a few important tweaks that result in a unique flavor experience. For starters, Saunders employs aged rum, rather than Mojito’s traditional call for white rum. From there, simple syrup, fresh lime juice, and mint continue the Mojito trajectory, but those ingredients benefit from aromatic bitters and a topper of champagne, which brings a festive dose of effervescence.
The Old Cuban Cocktail Recipe
1.5oz aged rum
6 whole mint leaves
1oz simple syrup
3 lime wedges
2 dashes of Angostura bitters
Muddle mint leaves, lime wedges, and simple syrup into a mixing tin.
Add aged rum, bitters, and ice and shake until chilled.
Double strain into a chilled coupe glass.
Top with Champagne.
Garnish with mint sprig.
Stay hydrated. Drink Responsibly.
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