Friday, July 24, 2009

My Perfect Mojito

Making a fresh mojito is so easy! Here's how.

Mary's Perfect Mojito

I have loved mojitos since the first time I ever tasted one, and while Cuba may have been the birthplace of the mojito, they always make me think of Miami and the Florida Keys.

What a beautiful drive that is between the two, and that 7-mile bridge to Key West, a place so laid back that even the dogs saunter around so slowly they appear to be sleepwalking and the few traffic lights seem almost lazy. Where people get around on bicycles and scooters and nobody is in any kind of a hurry.

Traveling that long road, you are completely surrounded by hues and shades of blue and green that it seems no human eye could possibly have ever really seen before elsewhere, and water so clear it's as if you can see all the way through to the other side of the world. It's breathtaking and captivating and it will bring tears to your eyes because it is truly one of the most beautiful places in this country. Our own little tropical paradise.

And what fun. Days spent snorkeling off of a reef and making friends with barracuda and nurse sharks, odd looking, fluorescent fish so close you can touch them. Starting your evening with a champagne sunset sail on a schooner, then dinner of conch fritters or chowder, escargots in a buttery, garlic sauce with mushrooms, stone crab claws dipped in drawn butter, Key West shrimp or fresh catch of the day. Ending the night over live music and cocktails at Sloppy Joe's. Oh take me back now!!

If I close my eyes, I can transport right back to the Pier House Resort, in a chaise lounge by the pool bar, engulfed by a jungle of tall palms and tropical plants, sipping on a mojito, and listening to a band playing songs of the islands, the night sky so clear that you could see every star forever. Ahhh... yes.

Fresh mint is crucial for the perfect mojito, as is fresh lime juice. I have a potted mint plant that I have been nurturing for so many years that I've forgotten how many now, and I started a new one this winter in my Aerogarden, transferring it to another larger pot. You almost cannot kill mint, so as I suspected, despite beginning it's life as a hydroponic plant, it thrived in soil after the transfer too - which brings me to this.

Do not, under any circumstances, plant mint in your garden. Not anywhere. You may love it at first but in short time it will begin to take over the landscape like a noxious weed, choking out any other plants you have in the same garden and you will not be able to get rid of it. Keep it contained in a pot. Unless, of course, you actually want it as a ground cover.

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Recipe: Mary's Perfect Fresh Mojito

©From the Kitchen of Deep South Dish
Prep time: 5 min | Yield: About 2 quarts

  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 2 cups water
  • 1 cup packed mint leaves
  • 1 cup freshly squeezed lime juice (about 8 to 9)
  • 1-1/2 cups quality rum
  • About 2 cups ice cubes
  • 1 to 2 cups club soda, to top off pitcher
  • Lime curls and extra mint leaves, for garnish, optional

Boil sugar and water just until sugar is dissolved and mixture is clear; set aside to cool. Muddle the mint leaves with a muddler or wooden spoon in the bottom of a 2 quart pitcher. Top with fresh lime juice and simple syrup. Muddle again, just enough to release the oils of the mint but do not pulverize them. Add rum and ice, topping off with club soda; stir well.

Cook's Notes: In the summer, I use simple syrup to sweeten a lot of beverages, such as homemade lemonade, sweet tea, snowball syrup, sangria, hurricanes and my iced tea cocktail, and even my fruit salad, so I like to prepare a larger batch and keep it in the refrigerator. You may use a lemon lime soda like 7-up or Sprite instead of club soda, but understand that will increase the overall level of sweetness. May also substitute Rose's Sweetened Lime Juice, if you don't happen to have fresh limes, but that will also affect the sweetness level and you will likely want to adjust the amount of simple syrup in both cases.

By the Glass: In a tall highball or collins glass, add the mint leaves. Top with fresh lime juice and simple syrup. Muddle a few times, just enough to release the oils of the mint but not to pulverize them. Add 2 ounces of rum on top and fill glass with ice. Top it off with club soda or lemon lime soda and stir well. May also muddle in a shaker and then strain into a glass.

Variation: Muddle a quartered tangerine (satsuma) with the mint leaves.

Cucumber Mint Mojito: For each glass, puree 1/4 of a medium, peeled cucumber with the lime juice. Muddle with the mint leaves and proceed as above.

Grapefruit Mojito: Zest strips of grapefruit for garnish. Peel 1/2 of grapefruit and segment for glasses, cutting away all pith; juice remaining half and add to mojito mixture. Add segment of grapefruit per glass and garnish with zest strips.


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©Deep South Dish
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Posted by on July 24, 2009
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  1. I will be trying this very soon. Sounds so beachy. Thanks for visiting my blog and for this great recipe.

  2. Key west is one of my most favorite places ever, and a mojito is just perfect!! Yes, reminiscent of key West. It looks wonderful, so wonderful, that I want one now at 7 AM!

  3. i love mojitos and just made some last night. it used to bum me out that you could only get them in florida or one or two bars here in denver. then they could popular and thankfully you can get a good one in most bars here.

  4. One of my most favorite trips ever was to Key West with my husband on our tenth anniversary.

    I loved the food and the laid back attitude.

  5. Visiting here from SITS! What a cool blog you have here! AWESOME! Keep up the good work!

  6. I've always wondered what were in these. I've never tried one. It sounds refreshing!

  7. As someone who grew up in Miami, I feel what you are saying. Mojitos were my fav drink pre-pregnancy. I sorely miss them! For now I hasve to settle for limeade with mint leaves. LOL!

    p.s. thanks for stopping by my blog...returning the favor. Congrats on your granddaughter!

  8. This looks wonderful. I'll have to do quality control testing this afternoon :-).

  9. I would love to go to the Keys and I almost made it.
    Mojito's are my favorite drink. The lime, rum and fresh mint, mmmmmmmm.

  10. Yum! Happy Saturday to you! I am slowly making my way around to all the blogs that visited me when I was featured on SITS to say "Thank you". It is indeed a fabulous SITStahood.
    Be blessed!

  11. I would have to have a "virgin" please...the last margarita I had gave me a serious glow that threatened to turn into a full blown "flash"...lawsy, I avoid flashes at all costs!!

    Love your description of the area, are you sure you should not write for a travel agency??☼

  12. Thank you for momentarily transporting me to Key West! I almost felt a little warmer as I stare out the window at this gloomy Ohio Saturday.

    The mojito looks and sounds wonderful. I can do rum. I might have to try a mojito soon!

  13. I'm gonna have to try making this Mary, it looks perfectly refreshing!

  14. Yummy! I love these too but never tried making it home because I don't have a recipe. Thanks for sharing because now I can try it out. -Jackie

  15. I feel instantly transported!! I love mojitos and you've got me craving them :)

  16. We make these in my bar all the time. Some like adding fresh strawberries. They say it's got a very refreshing taste to it.

    I'm a big NO LIKE MINT person. I make's as close as I get.

    You should also check out a Caipirihina (spelling might be off but they are yummy too and made with sugarcane liquer)

  17. Have you ever tried sugar substitute in this drink?

  18. I have not personally, but Da Vinci makes a sweetener that would be perfect. It used to be called sugar free simple syrup actually! It's great for drinks. I don't have a store near me that sells anything beyond the basics here, so I have to order the better flavored syrups online. By the way, I am not affiliated with Da Vinci and I don't earn anything off of that link, I just love their syrups and use the sugar free ones often. Da Vinci does an excellent job with packing and shipping is reasonable especially if you buy several bottles.

  19. Thanks for my visiting my blog! I'm so happy you came by because that prompted me to come here and find the recipe for my FAVORITE drink! Can't wait to make this mojito!

    Happy SITS Saturday Sharefest! :)

  20. Mojitos are fantastic, and last sping I decided I wanted to make some for myself. I bought a pot and planted the four different types of mint I could find locally. Apple Mint, Ginger Mint, Peppermint, and Spearmint. According to what I found online, the Apple Mint is known as Mojito Mint. It is very gentle and flavorful. My next favorite was the spearmint, but then, it tasted a little like the gum. Ginger mint was nice, but a little unusual. Peppermint was very spicy. But by far, my favorite was mixing them all and being able to pick out the special notes each one added. Apple mint with spearmint and a hint of peppermint. P.S. I don't think chocolate mint would work too well for this.

  21. That was quite an adventure in mint! I keep basic ole garden variety mint in my garden to be honest, but it makes a perfect mojito for me!!

  22. I made a pitcher this afternoon and I could not have been more pleased. I followed your recipe exactly, and it turned out perfectly. We sat on the deck, sipped Mojitos and watched the steaks grill. Thanks for such a good recipe.

    1. You're so welcome Kathy & thank you so much for taking the time to come back by and let me know that you enjoyed them. The description of your evening sounds absolutely perfect!


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