Sunday, May 21, 2006

Mojitos... Summer Can''t Be Far Off

Mojito: A refreshing alcoholic drink of Cuban origin
employing mint, sugar, rum, fresh lime juice, selzer water, plenty of ice and a muddler. A muddler is an implement used to mash fresh mint with sugar, causing the herb to release its volatile oils. I use a very large wooden pestle that belonged to my father-in-law. I'm sure he would enjoy the use that I've found for it. Here's my recipe for a large crowd. Please drink them judiciously.

3 cups mint leaves, packed (Save some of the tops of the mint stalks for garnish)
1/3 to 1/2 cup sugar, to taste (or Splenda-sugar blend. Splenda granular works too)
3 cups Bacardi Gold Rum
2 cups Captain Morgan's Original Spiced Rum
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice

Place the mint leaves in a large wooden bowl or mortar, add the sugar and mash with the pestle until the volatile oils of the mint are released. Place the mix into a large glass pitcher.

Pour the rums and lime juice over the leaves and give it a stir. Taste for sugar adjustment. TASTE, I said! When it's to your liking, chill well in the fridge for a few hours. Pour the mixture through a sieve to remove the mashed mint leaves. Press on the leaves to extract all the liquid.

To serve, fill glasses with crushed ice then add 2-4 oz of the rum mix, depending on the size of the glasses. Fill the glass with chilled selzer water, top with a mint sprig.

These are wonderful on a hot summer's afternoon. Or, on the beach in the fog. Wherever...

For a non-alcohol version, follow the directions, steeping the mint in fresh lime juice and white grape juice. Top off the glasses with chilled ginger ale.