|Minty Mojitos on the front porch...can summer be far away?|
Mojitos are traditionally Cuban, and before anyone in the U.S. called 'em mojitos, they were known as rum coolers. Remember those? Ha! Your age is showing, now. Whatever you call them, they are a refreshing way to celebrate Cinco de Mayo (don't be a purist, Mexico is a melting pot of cultures, too...my blue eyes come from my Mexican grandaddy), Mother's Day, or whatever else you might be celebrating this week. Bartenders typically use sugar or simple syrup to sweeten these, but I happen to be quite fond of honey, and think it sets off the flavor of lime, so that's how I mix them.
In case you aren't a honey aficionado, I should mention that you need a strongly flavored local honey to get real flavor, as the grocery store stuff, like most mass marketed things, looks pretty, but lacks substance. Grocery store honey tends to be basic clover honey from mega producers, and has about enough character to add mild interest to an afternoon cup of Lipton tea. Visit your local farmers market, though, and you will likely find honey from regional single sources, or wildflower blends, and they usually give free samples. The packaging may not be flashy, but the flavor will be full bodied, and worth the bother to search out. If you can't find a honey you love there, check food co-ops and whole foods stores, or you can always go online.
Enough words! Let's get down to business:
10-12 mint leaves
2 oz lime juice
1/4 of a lime, cut in two lengthwise wedges
2 T honey
2 oz light rum
club soda or plain water
Drop the mint leaves into a tall glass, squirt in about 2 tablespoons of honey, and add about 2 tablespoons of the hottest tap water you can get. Before it cools, crush the mint against the glass with a spoon, bruising the leaves, and dissolving the honey. Drop in one lime wedge, and crush it, too. If you happen to have a muddler, or a stone pestle (congratulations on being a real chef, or a real drinker), this is easier, but a spoon or the back of a solid ice cream scooper works, too. You can skip the hot water, but it helps release the oils from the mint and the lime rind (which you washed first, right?), and helps the honey mix in better.
Now, add the rum, fill the glass with ice, and top with either plain water or club soda, and garnish with the mint sprig, and the other lime wedge, squeezed a bit. For any non-drinkers in the crowd, this is very fine without the rum, too.
Whatever you celebrate this week, I truly wish you joy, and hope you have a fabulous time with people you love.