Well, its Thursday, and that means time to start thinking about something new to drink for the weekend. The beginning of lazy patio summer evenings are the perfect occasion for a bright, minty Mojito
Mojito: a popular Cuban drink, bastardized for the most part, in every casual eatery from East to West, often made of artificial lime juice and barely a sprig of mint to be found. Properly made they are the perfect hot weather cocktail. Sprigs of fresh mint are muddled with sugar and fresh lime juice, mixed with good white rum, topped with ice and soda. Simple, fresh, thirst quenching.
This one is a little different. While I respect the classic and have made my share including a weekend with family that I became an expert overnight due to the sheer number I made. I believe we exhausted the rather limited mint supply in Red Deer Alberta that year. Since I like to flavour my drinks with a little somethin-somethin I recently got inspired by a rhubarb version. Using a rhubarb infused syrup as the sweet base gives a lovely zip and a beautiful pink colour.
The secret to a great Mojito is the mint. If you can grow it yourself all the better because herbs are always better freshly picked. All you need is a small bit of garden space with some sun and a little water here and there and it will soon keep you in Mojitos and beyond for as long as you'd like. Or, do what I do and grow them in pots where they are easy to grow and kept under control. And surely you must know someone with too much rhubarb on their hands!
these can easily be made non-alcoholic, simply omit the rum
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 pound, thinly sliced rhubarb
2 inch strip of orange rind (use a vegetable peeler)
1 large sprigs of mint, leaves stripped off stem
1 oz white rum
Sparkling water/club soda
Make the syrup:
Combine sugar and water over high heat, stir until sugar is dissolved. Add rhubarb, bring to a slow boil and let bubble gently over medium heat for about 15 minutes until rhubarb has completely cooked through. Remove from heat and let infuse for 30 minutes or overnight. Then strain rhubarb solids out, DO NOT press solids as this will create a cloudy syrup. Refrigerate until cold.
In a tall narrow glass place your mint leaves and use the handle of a wooden spoon to crush the mint leaves. Add rum and 2 oz syrup, stir. Fill glass almost full with ice cubes and then top with soda. Stir and add a mint sprig for garnish.
Enjoy on a patio if you can.