It’s official: everyone who steps foot in Miami must guzzle Mojitos. It’s the lifeblood of the city. Why else would there be no mint in the third grocery store in a row that I stopped at? As minty conspiracy theories whirred around the inside of my noggin, I made a desperate, last-minute stop at a Publix. Thankfully, they had the perennial herb in question. No facet of the Nathifa who breezed out of the store with the last container of viable mint could have prepared herself for what she saw once she entered her apartment–her roommate twirling through an 80s aerobics workout tape. Needless to say Thursday night desk mojitos were on the menu.

Despite being a UM Law student for nearly a full year, I had drank precisely zero mojitos within city limits, so the Land Use Department’s event on Thursday night was perfect. Doubly so because our host provided us with the rich cultural context and historical background of both the Mojito and the Cuba Libre. As she measured, poured, and stirred her way through delightful cocktails, she interwove tales of the Cuban Independence Movement and the events that transpired at an American Bar in Havana some 100 years ago. While I no-doubt came for the “Nojito” and the friendship, I was truly delighted when she reached the history of Bacardi–a tale of alcohol and Intellectual Property all in one! Upon hearing that Facundo Bacardi had the ingenious foresight to move all of Bacardi’s trademarks and yeast strains out of Cuba prior to the Revolution, I was no longer able to maintain my mask of cool professionalism and my eyes began to sparkle with excitement.

After everyone had a Mojito to call their own, the Land Use Department’s fun-loving and amiable personalities shone. The proverbial gauntlet was thrown as the conversation flowed from the most fantastical hat present to the most memorable Halloween costumes of years past. As the ice in my drinks slowly melted and the night came to a close, I felt I had formally been initiated into Miami. Cheesy though it may be, I could not help but muse that if Mojitos were the lifeblood of Miami, then authenticity must be the lifeblood of Bilzin Sumberg. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Lastly, should you ever find yourself behind a bar or in presence of cola and rum, don’t forget to add a squeeze of lime for a refreshing twist–Cuba Libre style.