Mojitos are the new black. And in this case, by “black” I mean “flavored martini,” since martinis were the “it” drink for the past couple of years and now mojitos seem to be on the menu just about everywhere. A few places I’ve been lately even have entire mojito menus! Before venturing out into the world of flavored mojito variations, it’s a good idea to sample the classic that inspired them. Mojitos are cocktails made with mint, lime, rum and sugar, all muddled together and and topped off with ice and club soda for a drink that is light, tasty and refreshing.
Muddling is the key to a successful mojito. A muddle is a bar tool that allows you to crush ingredients together at the bottom of a glass, releasing lots of flavor into a drink. Muddling the mint and sugar allows the oils from the herb to come out remarkably well. Some people like to add the lime to the bottom of the glass and muddle it – peel and all – with the sugar, as well. This releases more lime oils from the zest, but I prefer to juice my limes and add in the juice; having lots of mint leaves floating in my cocktail is more than enough straw-clogging ingredients for my finished drink. Start with fresh mint, fresh limes and good rum, add a hot day and perhaps a few friends, and you should be good to go.
10 fresh mint leaves
2 tsp sugar
3 tbsp fresh lime juice (juice of one lime)
2-oz light rum
club soda (approx 6-oz)
In a tall thin glass, muddle together mint leaves and sugar until fragrant. Add lime juice and rum and stir well. Add plenty of ice and top off the glass with club soda (or seltzer water). Add a lime slice and a fresh sprig of mint and serve.
Note: You can increase the amounts of mint, lime, sugar and rum, muddle them in a cocktail shaker, then shake with ice and pour the mixture into glasses (topped with club soda, as before) to serve a crowd.