Mint abounds in our back yard, and so I learned to make a mean mojito the summer we moved in. A cool summer drink made with lime juice, fresh mint and rum (or tequila), it’s a pretty fantastic drink on a hot day – especially when you can walk out into the grass to pluck more mint to top yourself up. The best way to make a mojito is to muddle the fresh mint with the sugar in order to release more of the juices and aromatic oils from the mint, infusing the sugar with flavor – you can do this with the handle of a wooden spoon if you don’t have a proper muddler.
For a do-it-yourself mojito bar, set up a glass with water and bunches of mint, another with lime wedges, another with sugar, a bottle of rum and bubbly water, ice and a wooden spoon or muddler. There are now tons of variations on the classic mojito out there – but this is where it all started.
adapted from Bon Appétit, January 2001
3 cups (packed) fresh mint leaves
1/2 cup sugar
1 1/2 cups light rum or tequila
1/2 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
6 cups (ish) club soda
6 cups (ish) crushed ice
2 limes, cut into wedges
Reserve 6 mint leaves for garnish. Place remaining mint in a bowl with the sugar, or divide them between the glasses. Roughly mash (muddle) with a wooden spoon (or its handle, if you’re doing it in the glass) until the mint is well bruised. Add rum and lime juice and stir until the sugar dissolves. If you like, strain the mixture into pitcher. (This can be done hours ahead of time and chilled, if you like.)
Fill each of 6 glasses with crushed ice. Pour mojito mixture over (if it’s not in the glass already), top with club soda and garnish each glass with mint and lime wedges.
Photo credit: istockphoto.com/loooby