I have to admit, I’m something of a mojito connoisseur. Mojito addict might be the more appropriate term. I know, I know, it’s not the hippest of cocktails these days. “Oh, Miss Mojito, you are so 2005,” you might scold. But I don’t care. My name is Miss Mojito, and I’m a mojito addict. The tangy lime, the sweet pop of sugar, the heady rum, and the mint—oh the mint! It’s what elevates the mojito from a cocktail to an art form.
Unfortunately, for such a simple concoction, it’s surprisingly easy to get wrong. I should know. I’ve tried to recreate the perfect mojito countless times, based on sublime encounters I’ve had with the drink at different locales across Virginia. Charlottesville , for example, has a surprisingly high ratio of mojitos-per-capita, while Richmond is, comparably, lacking. A notable exception is Havana ’59, a Cuban restaurant where, just last weekend, a girlfriend and I indulged in some great appetizers and their delectable signature drink. In the absence of a trip to Havana , these recipes will hopefully meet your mojito fix.
But first, a few notes:
- Always use a freshly opened bottle of club soda when making mojitos. Even a day-old bottle can leave your mojito tasting lifeless and limp.
- Mojitos certainly taste best in the summer, when you can gather some mint from your own herb garden. But supermarket mint works in a pinch – especially during these cold months when you’re craving a mojito to shed some tropical warmth into your winter.
- Give your limes a roll on the countertop before cutting and squeezing to up their juiciness quotient.
- Invest in a long-handled, sturdy muddler, available at most cooking stores. It will pull the most flavor out of the mint leaves.
- Taste your mojito at every step of the process. Your personal mojito taste might be different from Miss M’s—we like a predominance of tart with a strong kick of sweet—but taste frequently to be certain. You might want to add an extra teaspoon of sugar, another slug of rum or an extra squeeze of lime.
- Most importantly, remember: mojitos, ‘mo problems. I recommend a limit of four. After that, things might just start to get fuzzy.
Miss M’s Quick & Easy Mojito
This is a go-to version when you don’t have the patience to whip up a simple syrup. Serves 4.
In a large pitcher, muddle two handfuls of mint and 4 teaspoons of powdered sugar. Fill halfway with ice, then add the juice of four limes. Add the squeezed lime rinds to the pitcher. Finish with eight ounces of white rum and six to eight ounces of club soda, then stir to mix. Serve with a sprig of mint.
Miss M discovered this drink at Mono Loco, her favorite restaurant in Charlottesville . The muddled berries make a magical addition to this drink. We think this recipe is a fairly close match to the restaurant’s original. Serves 4.
Bring two parts sugar and one part water to a boil on the stovetop. Once the sugar is dissolved, remove from heat. Pour two ounces of the syrup in a large pitcher with two handfuls of mint and one handful of fresh raspberries (reserve the remaining syrup in the refrigerator for later use). Muddle well. Fill the pitcher halfway with ice, then add the juice of four limes. Add the squeezed lime rinds to the pitcher. Finish with eight ounces of Bacardi Razz (Bacardi Limon or plain white rum are substitutes) and six to eight ounces of club soda. Stir to mix, and garnish with mint and whole raspberries.
Personally speaking, a mojito puts me in a dancing frame of mind. So put on your dancing shoes and salsa-it-up with this Cuban concoction. May I recommend this saucy lime-green pair from Ralph Lauren, on sale over at our friends at endless.com?
posted by Miss Mojito