I hadn’t really had a mojito until I ordered a Mango version at one of my favorite Monterey restaurants (Schooners) and fell in love. Cool, minty, sweet but not too sweet. I now had a favorite drink. Mojitos are generally made with mint, rum, limes, a pinch of sugar, and a splash of club soda. The one at Schooners features mango rum and is garnished with a stick of raw sugar cane. It also comes with a generous portion of mint (which isn’t always the case at many places that skimp on the mint). The key to a great mojito, in addition to a lot of mint, is the muddling. You drop a handful of fresh mint leaves in a glass and then smash them (thus releasing their flavor) with a thick, rounded wooden stick. Then you add the remaining ingredients.
When my husband and I moved from Monterey to our home in Ventura, I was thrilled to learn that we had a giant mint crop along the side of our house. Visions of mojitos filled my head. After much experimentation, I developed my recipe, as follows.
About ½ cup of fresh mint leaves
½ teaspoon sugar (or more or less depending on your taste)
1 whole lime
Crushed ice (enough to almost fill glass)
About a cup of Mango Rum (such as Malibu Caribbean Rum with Natural Mango Flavor)
A splash (or about ¼ cup) 7-Up, Club Soda, or Tonic
Place the mint in a glass. Using a muddler or a thick rounded end of a wooden spoon or spatula, smash the mint. Add the sugar and a few drops of juice from the lime and muddle some more. Fill glass with crushed ice. Pour in rum. Add the rest of juice from the lime. Add splash of soda. Lightly stir. Garnish with a slice of lime.
You can adjust the amounts of the ingredients based on the size of your glass and on what flavor/s you most want to emphasize. This is a simple cocktail that is light, cool and refreshing. The flavors are mild and won’t overpower. Therefore, mojitos work on their own or with just about any meal.
My Inspiration: Mango Mojito at Schooners in Monterey
Copyright Lori Granieri 2009