Thursday, June 28, 2012

Anyone for a Mojito?

The end product! YUM
Hot summer afternoons have arrived and 4th of July picnics are just around the corner.   I love a lazy warm summer day and I love inviting company over for nice big juicy hand shaped hamburgers, fat  sausages, grilled veggies, beets, and corn along side my favorite potato salad.  And now for the good part!  Something fun to drink. Mojitos originated in Cuba and some would even call it their national drink. They are basically a rum, lime, and mint combination finished with some kind of sparkling water or in this case, soda. Somewhere in my research I read that this was Ernest Hemmingway's favorite drink. It is easy to see why.  This drink has countless variations but the one that I make and love to serve is really simple and succeeds every time. If you have guests who do not enjoy alcohol it is even good without the rum!  We did about 200 of these for my daughters wedding and I can tell you, they were a huge hit for everyone except maybe my two dear friends who were bar keepers for the day.. (thanks Mike and JoAnn!!) I am sure that night they were muddling mint in their dreams!
Traditionally cane sugar is used to sweeten mojitos and after muddling and adding ice they are filled with a plain unsweetened seltzer water. I have cut back on the sugar and used sprite in this version. I have also successfully made them using a Seagrams key lime seltzer and adding a bit more sugar. Pretty versatile isn't it?
A word to mint. There are more mint varieties out there than I can count. Fuzzy mint which is a spearmint to the very pointed leaves of the dark stemmed true peppermint.. all different and varying intensities. Mojitos are best made with one of the lighter non fuzzy leafed spearmints. Peppermint does not work for these at all!  Figuring out which of the mints in your garden will work best is a project anyone would love being involved in.

We call this Kentuky mint. It is the perfect mint for these mojitos

Per drink:

1 lime
1 teaspoon cane sugar (ok, regular white will work)
5-6 Mint leaves  whole (plus a sprig for garnish)
3/4 shot light rum
3/4 shot dark rum  (not spiced)


 Slice the lime in half and then slice off a slice from each half
Put one slice in the bottom of the glass.
Reserve the other to garnish when serving
Add the sugar and the mint leaves
My patch of mint.. careful.. it will take over!
Muddle the sugar, lime and mint just until the mint is bruised *
Add enough  ice to fill the glass
Add the rum
Juice the rest of the lime and add to the glass
Fill the glass with sprite and with a long handled spoon, gently stir to combine
Hang the lime slice off the rim and serve with a straw

Can anyone say "zum wohl"?  (cheers, prosit,  etc will do as well!)

*muddling is done to break up the surface of the mint and release the flavor. You do not want to turn the mint to pulp but gently using a utensil (I often use a small wooden spoon if I don't have a muddling tool) work the sugar, lime and mint till the lime releases some juice. The sugar works to bruise the mint as well in this process. 

Swiss Woods
Debbie Mosimann

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