"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.
To: Juliette; Michelle
Sent: Monday, March 19, 2007 6:17 PM
Subject: Happy Birthday, Queen of the Spring
I will wax a little Rachel Carson as I begin. I planted yarrow this afternoon. It is an herb renowned for its protective powers. Its latin binomial is Achillea millefolium. It is named after Achilles the warrior. The flowers are said to resemble his shield, and legend has it that he carried it in to battle with him to staunch bleeding wounds. So on this breezy and wondrous day on the eve of the vernal equinox, I could literally feel winter ebbing from my bones, and I am full of gratitude. I always believe that I should love all of the seasons equally, and as an herbalist, I know the importance of winter. I have a great respect for winter. Winter Pays For The Summer, a great song by Glen Phillips (singer/guitarist of Toad the Wet Sproket on his own), but Spring is here at last... joy to the world!
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
Interesting. I stole my recipe from Fred in Bisbee at Cafe Roka. I have always made simple syrup but I like the idea of mulling the mint and sugar together to save a step. Mine doesn't have sparkling water, either, but that would make it go a bit further. Great photos as usual.ReplyDelete
Hi Zoe...I rarely have simple syrup on hand, thus I came up with the superfine sugar and mint muddling technique so I could make mojitos in a jif. I would love to make Cafe Roka's recipe sometime if anyone would care to share?ReplyDelete