My Classic Mojito

The Mojito has apparently become the new “in” drink over the past year or so. However, I think is is also one of the most bastardized drinks around – I have had some REALLY awful mojitos in some very nice bars. To my mind, a properly-made mojito is light, fresh, and balanced, without the overwhelming taste of rum, mint, or that awful “mojito drink mix”. If the drink is neon green in color, then it is NOT a real mojito; they used some crappy pre-made mix – probably margarita mix.

• 1.75 oz light rum (any decent light rum is fine)
• 1.75 oz simple syrup (preferably made with unrefined sugar)
• half of a good-sized lime
• 6-8 small mint leaves, 3-4 large
• crushed ice
• club soda

Fill a large (18-20 oz) glass about half-full of crushed ice. Cut the half-lime into 3-4 wedges, squeeze them into the glass, and then dump the squeezed wedges into the glass. Add in the fresh mint leaves, rum, and simple syrup (you can substitute cane juice for simple syrup if you happen to live in an area where it is available). Now muddle everything together, which basically means using a wooden spoon or muddler (available in bar supply stores – looks like a tiny baseball bat) to smash everything in with the crushed ice to combine the flavors. You don’t want to grind the mint leaves into pulp, but you do want to make sure they get a bit crushed. Fill to the top with club soda and stir.

Notes: This is very much a “to-taste” recipe. Some people like a little more lime, some like a little more sweetness, etc. Play around with it, and find what you like best.