ORIGINAL SPIRITS: THE MOJITO Friday, February 24, 2012

Pretty much any cocktail, glass of wine or draught beer can be unapologetically enjoyed once the sun’s set. But there are too few drinks best enjoyed before it sets.

A bourbon cocktail can be a quintessential nightcap, as can a Martini, especially since those three-Martini lunches are all but extinct.

Mimosas and Bloody Mary lend themselves rather nicely to those in need of a late-morning pick-me-up, but, if we’re up to it, what cocktail can we turn to during those long, lingering early-to late-afternoon hours?

Because it’s light, refreshing and citrusy with just the right amount of sweet, it’s hard to argue that the Mojito should not be the official reigning cocktail for afternoons of leisurely conversation.

Championed by Hemingway during his years spent on the island of pre-revolutionary Cuba, the Mojito possesses a magical simplicity that rivals and maybe even outshines that other afternoon favorite, the Margarita.

All you need is some sugar, some fizzy water, some mint leaves to gently muddle, a nice, light rum and some fresh limes to squeeze the juice from, and you’ve got what has long been one of the most popular tropical cocktails that pretty much anyone can enjoy.

Then, drink in hand, all you need to really make the most of it is the afternoon off, an umbrella to shield you from the sun and a friend with whom to share it all.

Very few cocktails say, “Yum!” to all peoples, but we’re certain that the Mojito’s gotta be one of them.