Havana is the birthplace of the Mojito, although the exact origin of this classic cocktail is the subject of debate. One story traces the Mojito to a similar 16th century drink known as "El Draque", after Francis Drake. In 1586, after his successful raid at Cartagena de Indias Drake's ships sailed towards Havana but there was an epidemic of dysentery and scurvy on board. It was known that the local South American Indians had remedies for various tropical illnesses; so a small boarding party went ashore on Cuba and came back with ingredients for a medicine which was effective. The ingredients were aguardiente de caña (a crude form of rum, translates as fire water from sugar cane) added with local tropical ingredients; lime, sugarcane juice and mint. Drinking lime juice in itself would have been a great help in staving off scurvy and dysentery. Tafia/Rum was used as soon as it became widely available to the British (ca. 1650). Mint, lime and sugar were also helpful in hiding the harsh taste of this spirit. While this drink was not called a Mojito at this time, it was still the original combination of these ingredients.
The Mojito has routinely been presented as a favourite drink of author Ernest Hemingway. It has also often been said that Ernest Hemingway made the bar called La Bodeguita del Medio famous as he became one of its regulars and wrote "My mojito in La Bodeguita