"Like the endless fields of sugarcane and the rows of rich tobacco, a drink called the Mojito (pronounced moe-hee-toe) seemed to spring up from the Cuban heartland and capture the soul of its people..." ~Wikipedia
It is a gorgeous summer day in the woods. This is the season that I wait all year for living in Northern California. I sleep at night with a light blanket and eat my meals outside at the table on my deck. I haven't run my heater nor have we had rain for more than two months. I revel in the days that are long and mostly sunny. In fact, it was such a beautiful day today, that I decided to celebrate the summer afternoon by making a pitcher of Mojitos. I have stated before that I like to have a few cocktail options that I can make by the pitcher. Like my Margaritas, or Michelle's Mai Tais, this cocktail is great for parties and would be a nice, refreshing drink for a Labor Day weekend barbeque. However delicious, I don't make Mojitos very often, so I needed to consult my recipe, which I found in an e-mail that I sent to Juliette and Michelle in March of 2007. Reading over it again made me smile... I hope you do, too.
Now I will take a chapter from Frances Mayes, and include my recipe for a pitcher of mojitos. There was enough spearmint in the mint bed (thank you, Spring!) that I tried to reconcoct my mojito recipe. I haven't made it for awhile - too close of an association with "he who must not be named" and romantic afternoons spent sipping them - and damned if Miss Forgetful Jones couldn't remember it. So here is my attempt at resurrection (I just love all my spring vocabulary!) It tastes exactly as I remember.
Linda's "No Mint In Your Teeth" Mojitos
2 BIG handfuls (1 large bunch) of fresh mint leaves (stems removed), plus more for garnishing
1 cup superfine sugar (regular will do, if that is all that you have in the pantry)
I place both of these ingredients in my mortar and pestle and give them a big bash (I have obviously been watching too much Nigella Lawson). Depending upon the size of your mortar, you may need to add the fresh mint and sugar in batches, grinding the two ingredients together with twists of your wrist, letting the pestle do the heavy work. When the mint is sufficiently bruised, and the sugar is dampened - about 5 minutes or so - it is ready. Take your time with grinding the mint and the sugar because you are releasing the essential oils of the mint into the sugar. The smell of the crushed mint is divine. Place the mint and sugar mash-up in a pitcher.
Add to the pitcher:
2 cups light rum, Bacardi or Cruzan Aged Rum are nice moderately priced choices
1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice
3 cups sparkling mineral water, such as San Pellegrino or Whole Foods 365 brand
Stir. Refrigerate until ready to serve. Pour the liquid through a mesh sieve over glasses full of ice (this trick allows one to drink the cocktail without wrestling with the crushed mint in the glass, and subsequently getting a large piece of mint stuck between one's teeth). Alternatively, you can assemble the ingredients in a container and sieve the finished mixture into a decorative pitcher, discarding the mashed mint. Garnish each glass with a fresh mint stem. My former last step which I will omit from my current recipe is: Turn on hypnotic Hindi music and enjoy drinking with a hunky Punjabi.
And, in closing, my dearest Juliette: Happy Birthday Queen of Spring, it is really no wonder that you were born on the vernal equinox. You are as solid as the Earth and a beautiful and creative Goddess. (Have I had too many mojitos? Hmmmn... perhaps one living alone should not make a pitcher.) As you turn 48 (remember I am only 49), I consider you a marvel, an amazing writer (and I am quite serious on this point, I think you should think about writing professionally), and I am so blessed to be able to call you Sister. Wishing you an amazing year ahead, Oh Gifted One.
Loving my sisters always and forever... in this life and beyond, Linda Lou