Mojitos are my favorite summer drink, a refreshing blend of rum, sugar, lime juice, soda water and mint. But they feel like a high-maintenance beverage, calling for fresh mint and requiring careful muddling to bruise, but not obliterate, the leaves. It’s not something I regularly whip up at home.
That’s why, on a recent trip to France, I was thrilled to discover a bottled beverage that makes Mojitos easy. Yes, France, the country famous for its world-class wines, also takes first place in the bottled, premade, grocery-store drink department. The fizzy drink that won my heart? Mojito-flavored 7Up.
The cocktail-inspired, non-alcoholic bottled beverage, called 7Up Free Mojito, has been available in France since 2014. In a 2016 article, Just-drinks.com noted that it then accounted for 15 percent of all 7Up sales in the country. It’s reportedly available in other European countries as well. (The distributor did not immediately respond to my question about which ones, but 7Up Ireland was tweeting about it as recently as 2017.)
Obviously, this isn’t the summer sipping choice for everyone. The drink mixes the traditional lemon and lime flavors of 7Up with a dash of mint. Had I read that in an article before tasting it, I’d have pictured a glass of 7Up flavored with toothpaste. That’d be a big “no thanks” from me.
But banish any thoughts of the sharp mint flavor you find in toothpaste or even gum. Think of a non-alcoholic Mojito, fresh and sassy as summer, with a light flavor that smoothes out any sharpness in the citrus. It’s divine – not too sweet, and as velvety and as well-mixed as if Isaac the Love Boat bartender had lovingly prepared it himself. I drank it plain over ice, but I can imagine it’s a tasty mixer as well. It’s also sugar-free and caffeine-free.
It’s not the only Mojito-flavored drink I stumbled across on my trip. I also tried a Schweppes virgin Mojito drink, again bottled, non-alcoholic, and darn crisp and tasty. French Mojito fans, it seems have plenty of choice when it comes to non-alcoholic, ready-to-drink versions of their favorite flavor.
But now that I’m back home in the U.S., where we are admittedly spoiled for choice when it comes to flavors of most foods, I see no ready-made Mojito beverages in my local market. What’s up, America? We need this drink on our shelves, ideally yesterday.
7Up is distributed by different companies in the U.S. and Europe. The European distributor suggested I reach out to Pepsico to see if there were plans to bring 7Up Mojito to the U.S., and at press time, Pepsico had not responded.
But I can dream. And I can remember to check the grocery store coolers on my next European trip to be reunited with my new favorite summer beverage. Even though America may not have mojito 7Up (yet!), you can still whip up these tasty summer cocktails you must make this year