For there is truly no greater pleasure in the world than a well made cocktail. A plethora of sensory input to be thoroughly enjoyed by the eyes, the nose as well as the palate, unless you are trying to drink yourself "senseless" which seems to be the prevailing attitude in most bars now days... Enter the squirt gun.
Let's return to a more artistic time. After all, if one is going to consume "crazy water", then one should do it with style.
I would like to focus on that harbinger of summer, the Mojito. Hemmingway's favorite cooler in the Cuban heat. Granted, it's hard to get real Cuban rum here in the US, what with embargo and all, but there is one particular brand that is made in the same style. Ron Matusalem.
I forgo the more trendy Bacardi, Mount Gay, Captain Morgan and even my beloved Meyers for these are all made in the Jamaican or Barbados style. Yeah, it's a little obsessive, but for anyone who knows me, it's just par for the course.
The drink originated in Cuba and just as most regional foods across Europe pair well with regional wines, so too does this style of Rum better fit the cocktails origin. Enough of my OCD.
A well made mojito, with ANY white rum for that matter, is a joy to consume on a hot day. Lively and thirst-quenching with limey goodness, laced with a delicate sweetness all rounded off with that refreshing hint of cooling mint. And to top it all off, it's bubbly too. What more could one ask for when the mercury tops 100?
There are 2 schools of thought when it comes to limes. On the one hand, you have the plain old Persian lime, the most prevalent in America. Which is fine, and what I will be using in this post since I don't have any Ron Matusalem rum either and have decided on Orinoco in the Brazilian Style.
But from what I have read, Key limes are indigenous to Cuba, which is my personal favorite, but due to the lack of Persian lime bitterness, one should add a shot of Angostura to the mix.
2 quarter wedges Persian Lime (or 2 Key Limes - Halved)
5-6 Fresh Mint Leaves
1 1/4 tsp Granulated Sugar
2 oz White Rum
Ice (preferably crushed)
Optional - Splash of Angostura bitters (only if using Key limes)
4 -5 oz Club Soda
Place the Sugar in the glass of your cocktail shaker.
Add mint leaves.
Use a muddler to lightly bruise the leaves and infuse the sugar with minty goodness. (Don't do that silly Bacardi commercial twisty thing with the muddler, cause you will shred the leaves and the drinker may choke, you can dance if you want to though) LOL
Add the 2 lime wedges
Squash them liberally with the muddler to release the juice and oils from the skin. (this dissolves the sugar as well)
Add 2 ponies (2 oz) of White Rum. (this is also where you would add the dash of bitters if using Key Limes)
Then give it a quick stir with the muddler.
Then pour into a 10 oz Highball glass.
Fill the glass to the top with ice.
Top with Club Soda (not Seltzer or Tonic Water).
And there you have it, a delicious Mojito.
Oh, wait.... Add a "kicky" little straw and a spring of mint. ;)
Now sit back and take a big whiff... mmmmmmmm... Yep, summertime refreshment is here.