It seems everyone has a slightly different way to make that “perfect” mojito. Piecing together a few different tips from the web, I made a pretty good “practice” mojito last night, as follows:
2 Tablespoons baker’s sugar (extra fine, so it mixes into the drink well)
1 handful of fresh mint leaves
2 oz rum
1 small lime
Dash of (Angostura) bitters
Ginger ale (club soda is apparently a more traditional alternative)
A lot of recipes call for simple syrup instead of sugar. I say meh… I’m too lazy to make my own simple syrup when the recipe works perfectly well with sugar. I have pure cane baker’s sugar that is extra fine (not as fine as powdered sugar though). I hear you can make this yourself by throwing some regular cane sugar into a food processor or the like.
Crush the mint and sugar in a mortar and pestle until it forms a minty, sugary paste. I got this tip from about.com, and I think it really helped make the drink great. I wasn’t even dealing with particularly fresh mint, because it took me a few days to pick up some ginger ale. Other sources say you only want to “bruise” the mint to release the flavor and not break it up into oblivion. Honestly, a lot of bar mojitos I’ve had lack flavor because I think they’re just throwing mint in the glass and maybe muddling it lightly. Crushing it up with the sugar ensured the mint flavor would seep into the drink, and in my opinion the drink looks a little better as a result. I like the little bits of mint floating about, letting me know they’re contributing to my drink, rather than whole leaves just there for show.
Cut up the lime into wedges. Muddle 2-3 of the wedges (about the half the lime) in a tall glass with the mint-sugar paste (since you’ve already crushed up the sugar and mint, you could probably just mix in lime juice, but that’s not very sporting).
Add the rum and stir the mixture together. I used 10 Cane white rum, which is top shelf, relatively pricey, but seems to be well worth it (I’m not a big drinker anyway, this 750 mL will probably last me a while). It’s the best (and most expensive) rum they sell at the WA liquor store. I’d like to get my hands on some Havana Club though; I wonder if they sell that in Vancouver…
I happened to have some bitters and saw some recipes using it, so I threw a dash of it in. It can’t hurt! I used Angostura… really are there other kinds of bitters? 😉
Add enough ice and ginger ale / soda to fill your glass. I didn’t have crushed ice handy, but I wish I would have. I can’t say how much the ginger ale added to the flavor versus club soda, but as happy as I was with the result, I think I’ll stick with it. Besides, I couldn’t find any regular club soda at either Whole Foods or QFC.
Next time… fresher mint leaves and crushed ice (and maybe some photos)!