How Barney Toy makes Clipper's clarified Mojito riff, the Fancy Cuban Highball

You've made the Mojito before. It's a summer staple, it's refreshing — it's one of the world's most famous drinks for a reason. But if you make enough of them, you know it takes time. What's an enterprising, forward-thinking bartender to do?

You're going to batch it, and you want to make it as quick to serve as you possibly can. The trouble is, mint is notorious for its short lifespan, going from minty fresh crispness to flaccid and rather unfortunate in the space of one shift behind the stick.

One of Boothby's favourite bartenders from across The Ditch, Barney Toy, has found a way around these problems at his Auckland bar, Clipper. He has something of a thing for clarification — this crystal clear riff on the Miami Vice cocktail is a beauty — and he recently turned his mind to the Mojito, with some delicious results.

We asked Toy to highlight a little about the way he pulls each individual ingredient together, and have his recipe, below.

Boothby: What was the inspiration behind the Fancy Cuban Highball?

Consistency!  We get asked for Mojitos at Clipper all the time. It was the one drink we didn't offer due to the inconsistency of produce in NZ, so we've been working on this drink for a while and can finally offer a Mojito-style drink that's consistent and batchable.

Barney Toy at Clipper in Auckland. Photo: Supplied
Barney Toy at Clipper in Auckland. Photo: Supplied

Can you tell us more about the milk-wash process with the PRIMO lime milk? WTF is that?

Hah! Lime milk is a Kiwi thing and it's weird AF but we needed some way of adding weight and texture to the drink and milk-washing is my go to. Using lime milk — Primo is a Kiwi milkshake brand — just made sense in a Mojito riff.

"Lime milk is a Kiwi thing and it's weird AF," says Barney Toy.

What's the deal with the freeze-dried mint syrup?

Freeze-dried mint was the key to consistency; everything is done by weight and controlled all the way through. Freeze dried mint sous vide into 1:1 simple syrup then clarified through a coffee filter.

How do you make the mint oil vodka?

We infuse freeze-dried mint into a neutral coconut oil and then fat-wash vodka, then freeze and cold filter.

Fancy Cuban Highball recipe


  • 20ml Primo Lime Milk-washed Bacardi Carta Blanca
  • 20ml mint oil vodka
  • 20ml freeze-dried mint syrup
  • 15ml lime juice
  • 5ml 6% acid
  • 50ml water (or soda water if not carbonating)


  1. Batch all ingredients and carbonate.

Recipe by Barney Toy, Clipper, 2022.

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