Tuesday, April 27, 2010

mojitos (really, really good ones)

Let's talk about Mojitos. A rum-based drink infused with the peppery and almost medicinal zip of fresh mint muddled with cane sugar, tons of fresh lime wedges, and topped off with soda water. Insert straw. Sip. Smile. You're on vacation. Even if it's off your fire escape, looking out onto the bustling city below.

And me? Oh well, I just happen to be enjoying mine in Vieques. Whether or not that makes them taste even better (this is a fact) is up to you to decide, but there's something about this cocktail that immediately transports you to vacation/summer mode. It makes you smile. And sometimes that's all we need. A friendly little boost to help curl the sides of your mouth upwards to show off those pearly whites when you can't get to the tropics.

Mojitos, when done right, are really, really good.

Incidentally, the best Mojito I've ever experienced was in Vieques at the Inn at Blue Horizon about two years ago. It was the first stop we made right after the airport (and the world's most traumatic flying experience known to mankind. Let's just say by the time I sat down at the bar, I may or may not have still been wheezing/in hysterics/kissing the ground/contemplating how in God's name I was getting back home without having to take off the ground in that magic school bus they call a 10-person plane. I've since sought medical attention to aid this process. But I think hypnosis is in my near future.) so it's questionable whether or not this cocktail was more of a life saver than a particularly delicious Mojito but I'm going to argue the latter. The description on the menu said something about Blue Curacao and I immediately scoffed.

Yep, I'll admit it. I scoffed. Hoping the bartender didn't see or hear me. I don't order blue drinks. That's just not how I roll.

But it was the Blue Horizon's namesake cocktail and it had the word Mojito in it and so i ordered it. As is. I ordered the blue drink.

A few minutes later (after watching my sweet bartender muddle away with nearly a whole bunch of mint and a handful of limes), a blue-hued, icy cold beverage was set in front of me. One sip, and not only was all the flying anxiety immediately alleviated, but I was genuinely blown away by the quality; the proportions of this particular Mojito. The perfect balance between sweetness and tang with the subtle muskiness of the rum in the background. Perhaps it was the dreaded Blue Curacao which miraculously made the ingredients sing such an exotic yet familiar harmony: it was damn good.

Now I don't know about you but I don't keep Blue Curacao at home. Nor do I think it's absolutely necessary to have on hand to make the world's greatest Mojito. Or anything, for that matter. So let's break this down sans, shall we?

In a tall glass, toss in at least 10-12 mint leaves and 5 slices/wedges of lime (or more) and 1-1/2 Tbsp. of sugar (I will say that I've tried this with Splenda--I know, I know, I know, let's just say I couldn't find the sugar, or something--and it came out pretty darn tasty. So there. Just sayin') and muddle the crap outta this. If you don't have a muddler, the bottom of a wooden spoon can work in a pinch. But let's get you a muddler, k? Once as much of the juice has been released by the limes as possible and the mint leaves are smashed and the sugar is nearly dissolved, it's time to add the rum. Add in a shot glass or so of Bacardi Rum, fill the glass with ice, and top it off with a splash of seltzer water. Give it a little stir.

Insert straw. Sip. Smile.


Jules7 said...

I don't drink blue drinks either, unless it's a blue razz slurpee. Otherwise, it makes me feel cheap. Have you ever had a raspberry mojito? I think it's your recipe plus raspberries, but i'd highly recommend.

Jules7 said...

And ps- my mom does hypnosis if you're interested


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