Since we turned our clocks forward last night, it is with the hope that we are finally thawing out that I focus today on the return of a refreshing warm weather libation. A rest today from politics.
During a business trip to a conference in Miami I stumbled across Bongos Cuban Café (originally Larios on the Beach) in the South Beach district. I had gone in search of authentic Cuban food and I found it as well as a delightful drink called the “Mojito.” This was long before Mojitos were cool in the rest of the country. Upon my return to Virginia I decided to master that particular drink and I believe that I have.
If you have tried a Mojito in a bar or restaurant somewhere and been disappointed – please try making one yourself. With fresh ingredients and the proper tools you can beat the hell out of the commercially prepared variety and certainly any pre-mixed fare.
Special Tools – you need a Muddler (looks like a small baseball bat) to release the juice from the limes and the essence from the mint. I don’t recommend that you use a metal muddler. You should be able to find one where bar supplies are sold – if not you can get one here: 8” Muddler
The rest of the tools that you need are common – a long handled drink spoon, highball glasses, and a knife. Ingredients:
Fresh Limes (rinsed)
Sugar (some recipes call for “simple syrup” which is sugar water)
Light Rum – Bacardi Light will work, Cruzan Aged Light Rum
Cut a lime in half and drop one half in the bottom of a glass. With your muddler press the lime to release the juices but not so firmly that you break up the rind releasing that flavor. Now add two or three sprigs of mint – this is important – don’t smash the crap out of the mint, simply crush the stalks to release the mint aroma. Most places crush the leaves so badly that they are suspended as a pulp in the drink – you don’t want to have to strain the mint out with your teeth. That was the hardest part. Now add ice to fill the glass and then sprinkle a small amount of sugar on the ice cubes. Most bar tenders make the drink too sweet – if the drink is too tart for your taste, you can always add more sugar. Now the Rum, pour it over the ice to bring the glass about 1/3rd full and then top off with club soda. Mix a little with the spoon and then garnish with a sprig of mint. Enjoy.