Monday, August 27, 2012

The Mojito

Although I don't order it or make it as much as I used to, this is one of my all-time favorite summertime drinks.  It's so simple to prepare and the ingredients are humble.  This was one of the first cocktails I ever made, probably because I had mint and limes accessible in the backyard.  All I needed was rum and that was dirt cheap when on sale.

The Mojito.

I used to make my Mojitos with Bicardi light rum ($7.99), Key limes, granulated sugar and fresh mint.  Rather than club soda, I would use Sprite or another lemon-lime soda to give the drink a bit of fizz and also compliment the flavors already present in the cocktail.  See, the budding home bartender was already thinking of ways elevate the drink!  I would muddle, shake and pour over standard white elongated ice cubes.

Cast of characters, with mint leading the way.

15 or so years later, this is how I make em.  The only thing that has not changed is the mint.  You gotta use mint and it's gotta be fresh.  I swapped the granulated sugar for simple syrup to cut back on leftover granules that didn't dissolve while muddling.  And if you muddle the sugar and mint long enough for the sugar to completely dissolve, the mint will be pulverized to the point that it will be pulverized and bitter.  That's a no-no.  Next up, I bought Persian limes (the bigger of the 2 varieties sold in supermarkets) to use instead of the key limes I had out back.  The difference is really a matter of taste (I used to love my mojitos on the sour side).  If you want key lime and not mint to be featured in your mojito, by all means...  But if you're making a proper mojito, mint should be in the foreground.  Moving on - rather than using light rum, I make my mojitos with a slightly aged rum, just to impart more flavor and add a bit of depth.       

Taken from The PDT Cocktail Book.

Last but not least, I shake vigorously with ice made from drinking water (not tap like I used to) and I double strain over a Collin's glass filled with more fresh ice (or 1 long ice cube like I have now) and I top with club soda (not lemon-lime soda - it only brings artificial flavors to the party) for some effervescence.  Now, throw in a long straw to give the drink a little stir to work the bubbles around.  Garnish with a fresh sprig of mint and that is all she wrote.  Cheers! 


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