Bergamot Mojitos

With thirst-quenching lime, cooling mint, and sparkling water, mojitos are usually a summer affair. Nothing refreshes one’s spirits on a sweltering day quite like this fizzy, Cuban concoction.

But here in San Francisco, the difference between winter and summer is sometimes unclear. This winter has been one of the sunniest I can remember, and I frequently find myself stopping to remember what month it is.

Since I was lucky enough to score some fresh bergamot oranges at Berkeley Bowl, I’ve been adding their zest and juice to these mojitos, which we’ve been downing before the foggy chill of summer rushes in to “freeze” our delicate, acclimatized selves. (The rumors are true: we Coastal Californians are total wimps.)

We call them “bergamojitos.”

Bergamot juice is tart enough to stand in for lime, and a touch of its highly fragrant zest gives the drink a floral nose with musky undertones that whisper of earl grey tea. Fresh mint bruised with a touch of sugar, a slug of white rum, and a top off of sparkling water (courtesy of my true love, the soda siphon) make this taste like summer in a glass.

Or a San Francisco winter, at least.

But don’t waste the precious peel: prior to juicing your bergamot, save its zest for making chocolate bergamot scones, bergamot bitters, or vanilla bergamot ice cream, a variation of my favorite vanilla ice cream recipe that tastes like a grown-up creamsicle.

If you don’t have bergamots, try this with pomelo or grapefruit juice instead, adding lime juice to tart it up.


Summer in a glass:

Pink Grapefruit Vieux Mot
Dark and Stormy
Sparkling Whiskey Gingerade

Bergamot Mojitos

A little bergamot zest goes a long way, so add it with caution. If you find your drink wanting for more bergamot, add the optional twist of zest to the finished drink.

Makes 1

leaves from 2-3 sprigs of mint, a few reserved for garnish
2 teaspoons sugar
tiny pinch of bergamot zest
2 ounces strained bergamot juice (from 1/2 a medium-large bergamot)
2 ounces white rum
sparkling water
bergamot twist, optional

Place the mint leaves in a cocktail shaker, jar, measuring cup, or any other mojito-sized vessel. Add the sugar, bergamot zest and juice, and mash until the mint is bruised. Add the rum, stir to dissolve the sugar, and strain into a glass filled partway with ice cubes, pressing on the leaves to extract all that good stuff. Top off with sparkling water, and garnish with mint leaves and the bergamot twist. Stir and enjoy.

You can reuse the bruised mint leaves to make a second drink, if you like.

17 thoughts on “Bergamot Mojitos”

  1. Ah, so jealous of you Californians and all of the insane citrus you have access to. I've only ever enjoyed bergamot in my earl grey sadly. These sound so refreshing and look completely stunning. Bergamojitos! I think you just started a new trend in mixology.

    1. I know – we are spoiled brats! I've been seeing bergamot popping up on menus around town, so I'm hoping they'll become more widely available everywhere in the near future. Thanks for the kind words! Your raw chocolate earl grey cake looks AMAZING!

  2. Wonderful! I have only recently discovered your beautiful blog, so this is my first reaction. I live in Northern France, where Bergamots are not easy to come by, but I was lucky enough to find some several times during the winter, and got obsessed!!! I am happy to see I am not the only one. This mojito sounds so fresh and "cheerful"!

    1. Thank you so much for writing! I'm glad you're able to find bergamots in your neck of the woods – they are indeed a special fruit, and "cheerful" is the perfect description for this drink.

  3. Oh how I am jonesing for spring (and feeling extreme anger towards the snow currently falling outside — get over it, Nature!). And this drink is adding fuel to my warm-weather yearnings. (And also to my desire to track down the elusive bergamot!) A friend of mine sent me a link to a post about making bergamot bitters last week, and it really piqued my interest in the fruit. My favorite natural foods store usually manages to get a decent selection of citrus in at this time of year, but I'm not sure if there's been bergamot hidden amongst all those other varieties, and I've just never noticed it before. I will be taking a closer look next time I'm shopping. And if I find some, I will be making bergamot bitters and drinking bergamojitos, whether it's warm or not! (:

    1. I'm so sorry, Carey! You could hop on a plane…
      I'm planning to make bergamot bitters with the rest of my bergamots, too. I'll totally send you some if they turn out. :)

    1. Aw, thanks! It sure has; today is turning out to be no exception. I hope they still have some in stock – I got mine a few weeks ago and have been hoarding them. Let me know how it goes!

  4. What a lovely drink! I have never seen a bergamot before, I would have bought a whole crate full, too! I love all the fun things you are making with them! :) And this drink makes me crave spring sooo bad! I'm tired of cold and snow! :)

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