Make a Mojito for Some Cool Refreshment
The mojito is a rum-based cocktail that is cool, minty, and just perfect for a hot day (or night). While its origin is contested, it has become a local Puerto Rican classic. There are regular competitions to determine which bartender makes the best mojito on the island.
I have tried to make mojitos from scratch a few times, with varying results. Finally, I think I have come up with a winner of a recipe. It requires a little bit of advance planning, but it is amazingly easy, once you have gathered all of the ingredients.
The first thing is to acquire these ingredients
- 1 cup of sugar
- 1 cup water
- fresh spearmint leaves
- 2 ounces light rum
- 1 lime
- club soda or sparkling water
- crushed ice
You’ll also need a 12-ounce glass and a muddler.
Use a glass that is wide enough for you to use your muddler in the bottom. A muddler is a pestle, or anything with a flat bottom you can use to smoosh stuff. You only want to bruise the mint leaves to release the oils, not make a shredded, mushy mess.
You’ll need to make a mint-infused simple syrup ahead of time. Here’s how to do that.
Mix 1 cup of water with 1 cup of sugar in a saucepan, heat it, stirring constantly until the sugar dissolves. Turn off the heat. Add about 10 to 15 mint leaves, and let it steep for about 1 hour. Then strain out the leaves, allow it to cool off, and store the simple syrup in the refrigerator until you’re ready to use it. I believe it lasts for about 1 month.
Mix & Enjoy!
When you’re ready to enjoy a refreshing mojito, put 1 ounce of mint-infused simple syrup into a glass. Squeeze in the juice of ¾ lime (about 1 to 1½ ounces). Add a handful of mint leaves (I used about 10 to 15 leaves), and gently muddle it together. Add crushed ice. Muddle just a tiny bit more. Add 2 ounces of light rum. Fill glass with ice cubes. Add 2 splashes of club soda, and stir gently to mix.
Garnish with a mint sprig and a slice of lime. Enjoy!
Most mojito recipes just call for "mint", so there is always a question which type of mint leaves to use. Any fresh mint will work, though spearmint tastes the best.
I know that when we lived in NJ, we had about 6 "flavors" of mint that grew like crazy. But here in Puerto Rico, I have not been able to get mint to grow well, and it is not readily available in the supermarkets. So we usually end up buying plants on and off throughout the year at the farmers’ markets.
Remember to drink responsibly, and never drink & drive.
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