Cuban ‘Mojito Mint’
Answered by: Conrad Richter
Question from: Randy Lamb
Posted on: September 11, 2002
Revised on: September 1, 2009

Hi, I would like to know if you carry seeds or plants for the famous Cuban "Mojito mint" used for making the mojito cocktail.

If it helps, I have seen it listed as both Mentha nemorosa and as Yuerba Buena. Your website lists yerba buena, but shows it as a Satureja sp, not as a Mentha sp.? Any idea on if it’s the same one? Common names tend to be misleading.

Yes, we do! Please see our web catalog, in the plants section, under mints.

Before 2006 we had never seen it but our friend Catharine Nasmith brought us an authentic sprig of mojito mint from Cuba and we introduced it to North American gardeners in 2007. It has been one of our most popular herbs since. Because of the embargo on trade with Cuba in the United States, the plant was not available despite widespread interest. Many mojito fans resorted to looking to other mints and invariably they ended up using various forms of spearmint, including "yerba buena".

"Yerba buena" can be used to refer to several different members of the mint family, including Mentha spp. and Satureja spp. (both are members of the same mint family). Most often it refers to varieties of Mentha spicata, the common spearmint, but that varies depending on the region of Latin America you happen to be in. The different regions of Latin American adopted plants with similar flavour and odour as "yerba buena".

None of these "yerba buena" mints are exactly like the one used in Cuba for the "mojito" cocktail because mints are naturally highly variable in form. The scents and flavours can vary from sweet and pleasant tasting, to menthol-like, to bitter and pungent – all occuring within the same species. The only reliable way to get the exact variety you are looking for is to get a live plant or cutting from Cuba. Fortunately, "lo verdadero" is now available from Richters.

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