Sunday, June 25, 2006

A variation on a classic.....

Mojitos have become quite the "it" drink in the past few years, at least here in New York City. At first you'd only find them at specific bars or restaurants but now you'd be hard pressed not to find a bar or restaurant with some form of mojito on the menu. I first encountered the mojito about ten years ago when my family was living in Havana, Cuba. My father works for the State Department as a foreign service diplomat, and so my family has travelled from country to country during my childhood/teenage years. We moved to Cuba in time for my senior year of high school (which I spent in boarding school) but I visited Havana on vacations. At first I wasn't much interested in mojitos (not being a drinker yet) but as the years went on they became more and more appealing.

Imagine my surprise a few years later when they exploded onto the New York bar scene, and people everywhere began talking about this hip new drink. And it was nothing but the little old mojito.

You have to hand it to the Cuban people. Living in an (often) horrendously hot tropical paradise, they created a drink that is refreshing in its minty soda watery goodness, but also provides a kick enough to get conversations flowing and proverbial parties started. M. and I are big fans, and have tried a variety of recipes. This one hails from PJWine Drinks - a magazine we receive from a large wine warehouse that M. often orders wine from. Since we live in New York City without a car, ordering things like wine which are heavy to carry can be a challenge. And since both M. and I took a class all about wine during college - tasting wine is important to us. M. found this warehouse with a suitable selection, and will order a couple cases from time to time so as to keep his oenophile taste buds happy. And, a little perk is this magazine which arrives seasonally but has yielded some gems of recipes for both drinks and food.

Ultra Mojito
Makes 1 drink

A great Mojito has to be the definitive fresh mint cocktail. In this double-mint-enhanced version, fresh mint leaves are first muddled, then classic ingredients and a mint-infused syrup are shaken in.

2 sprigs fresh mint
3/4 ounce Mint Syrup (recipe below)
3/4 ounce fresh lime juice
2 ounces Bacardi Limon rum
Splash chilled soda water

Tear mint sprigs and drop into a cocktail shaker. Add syrup and muddle well. Add lime juice and rum. Filla a large glass with ice, and then transfer ice to shaker and shake vigorously. Pour entire contents into the large glass and top with a splash of soda.

Mint Syrup
Makes about 3 cups (enough for about 30 drinks)

1 cup coarsely chopped mint sprigs with stems
2 cups sugar
2 cups boiling water

Place mint and sugar in heatproof container. Pour boiling water over mixture and stir until sugar is completely dissolved. Let steep 30 minutes, then strain. Store refrigerated until needed.

M. was the mojito maker yesterday. He ended up upping the lime juice to suit our tastes. And the proportions of the mojito components (syrup, mint etc) are certainly adjustable depending on the customer. Also, I would think (unless you're having a party) perhaps halving the mint syrup recipe might be a good idea. Our fridge is now stocked with several containers of syrup (one of which spilled a little - that syrup is so sticky!) and it would seem apparent that mojitos are going to be the house drink for some time to come, or at least until that syrup is all gone.

I guess there are worse things...

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M said...

I recommend going with 1 oz. of syrup and lime juice. It's just easier to remember (2-1-1) and you get about 1 oz. from half of a lime.

Of course you should take the size of your glass into consideration. I think our glasses were about 14 oz.

helios said...

Thanks for clarifying dearest. You are the mojito master after all....