Described as a slave trader, politician, pirate (or privateer depending on your point of view), Drake definitely left a legacy.

Sir Francis Drake

Better remembered as the second man to successfully navigate the globe (the first to survive after Magellan died) or in reference to his victory against the Spanish Armada in 1588, Drake is less commonly remembered as the man behind the Mojito.

Infamously known by his enemy as El Draque or ‘The Dragon’,  it is said that Drakes fellow privateer Richard Drake (first cousin to Francis) invented a drink which he named after his mentor called “El Draque”.   Comprising of ingredients easily obtainable on their voyages, it contained sugar from the plantations, key limes, cane spirit and a variety of mint called hierba buena (Mentha Suaveolens aka – apple mint, wooly mint or Cuban mint) which grew naturally in and around the sugar plantations of the time.  With many of Drakes crew comprising of Cimarrones (aka Maroons – African slaves who escaped the plantations), they would have been well in the know of northern Brazilian distilleries and therefore have access to local stock.

The modern day Mojito (“little mojo”)

Due to the date however, it would not be rum that was mixed but cachaça, which would mean that the popular drink later to be called “Mojito” was potentially a cachaça based cocktail and not rum as used today.  Cuban rum historian Fernando Campoamor discovered evidence that Drake was given this concoction as a remedy to settle his stomach when affected by the tropical environment.  Centuries after Drakes death, a concoction known as “Drakes” or “Draquecitos” (‘Little Drakes’) were still consumed by Caribbean settlers as a refreshing drink.

 

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