I love mojitos! They are hands down one of my favorite summer and all year round drinks. The ingredients are simple, and you can easily make one with every type of fruit or vegetable imaginable. The combination of mint and lime is simply genius! I love my Cubans for coming up with this recipe.
So what is it that makes mojitos so amazing? To me it has to be the satisfying and refreshing feeling I get the moment I take that very first sip. I attribute that feeling to its most important ingredient, mint. Mint with anything will instantly make any dish or drink refreshing. In most Latin American countries you can easily find yerba buena or spearmint (a mint variety) by simply stumbling through the bush in your backyard (if you have one of course). It loves the warm and therefore thrives and proliferates in warmer climates. Unfortunately for those of us that live in colder climates we have to wait for that hint of spring to start enjoying this amazing herb. I recommend that you buy some seeds and plant it in your backyard the moment you finish reading this post. My sister, who lives in NJ, has a backyard full of spearmint. It's a perennial so it lays dormant during the winter months. The moment it gets a whiff of spring it grows wild and even becomes a little too invasive. I don't mind though. I could easily deplete her supply if I had access to the stuff. I would probably make mojitos every day!
Another great thing about mojitos is that you can use various ingredients to develop your own distinct signature. I once worked near a restaurant where I used to buy their signature cucumber mojitos during happy hour. I loved them so much that I made this video with another student (in what seems a lifetime ago) walking you through how to make their cucumber mojitos. The restaurant has since closed but this video survived. Though I still miss their signature drink, I know that with a little ingenuity I will soon come up with my very own drink. How does a green tea, ginger, honey mojito sound? I have to tinker with this idea a little bit more. I'll figure something out eventually.
What don't I like about mojitos you might ask? Well, it's the price! In NYC each drink will run you in the $8 to $15 range. Instead of paying up though we can just as easily make our own virgin or regular mojitos at home. All of the ingredients, except for the blue agave nectar which will run you about $5, will cost less than $8. In total that's about $13 spent on ingredients that will yield more than enough for a group of 8. This of course does not include the cost of alcohol...maybe you can get a friend to buy you some white rum as a gift! ::wink::
The key to this recipe is that we are not making individual mojitos. The recipe below will help you if that's what you seek, but I was looking at making something that would be easy to prepare and serve as a concentrated mojito mixture. You can then take the concentrated mixture to make a glass or a pitcher of mojito that you can serve at your next BBQ. Whatever you have left over you can freeze into ice cubes that you can later drop in your seltzer water or you can save the mixture in a container and thaw it to make a pitcher at a later date. What's great about this concentrated mixture is that it really lends itself to various recipes without having to make individual servings of mojito.
TIP 1 - If you want to make a different flavored mojito all you have to do is find all natural juice to substitute the mango juice in the recipe or just buy the fruit and use that instead. If you can't find all natural juice, then I have an even better suggestion, make your own juice! For example, if you want to make a lychee, strawberry, pineapple or cucumber, mojito all you have to do is buy the fruit or vegetable and blend it. You can also just buy the fruit and crush it. I like the combination of both fruit juice and crushed fruit in the drink. I love fruit pulp! If instead you make juice by mixing with it ice then you will end up with a frozen mojito mixture. Probably even better. Just make sure you make enough of the mixture to yield 4 ounces or half a cup per person.
Mint Leaves (10 leaves per drink)
Limes (4 lime wedges per drink)
Blue Agave Nectar - Light or Dark (half a tablespoon per drink)
Bacardi White Rum or BULLDOG Gin (1 1/2 ounces per drink)
2 Liters of Lemon Lime Seltzer - (half cup or 4 ounces per drink)
All Natural Mango Nectar Juice (4 ounces per drink)
Muddler if you have one if not a large wooden spoon
Ice (to your liking)
Mango (Not required, but if you have some laying around they can be used in this recipe)
TIP 2 - A standard bar pitcher in the US will hold about 32 ounces. A liter container will hold about 34 ounces of liquid. So on average you are getting about 4 eight ounce drinks per pitcher. Keep this in mind before you buy your ingredients.
- Before you begin, make sure you keep the seltzer water and the mango nectar refrigerated so that you get a nice and refreshing drink, even without the ice.
- Roll the lime with the palm of your hand to release some of the juice before you cut. Cut each lime into 8 slices. Estimate that you will use about 4 slices per drink.
TIP 3 - If you have a juicer, make some lime juice instead. Please don't buy the stuff that comes from concentrate. If you are going down that route then you should just squeeze the lime. I don't know what half a lime will yield when you run it through the juicer but I figure that you can start with a smaller amount and if you want more lime you can adjust according to your taste. This idea is great if you want to make a regular mojito with no added ingredients.
- Buy a bunch of mint leaves and just strip the leaves. If for example you want to make enough for 4 people then strip 40 leaves.
- In a container, squeeze half of the limes and drop the wedges in the container. Add the remaining lime wedges into the container as well. Break apart the mint leaves with your hands before adding them in the container. This is a very helpful step in the case that you have to use a wooden spoon.
- Add half a tablespoon of Blue Agave Nectar per drink. The reason you only add half a tablespoon per drink is because Agave nectar is sweeter than sugar.
- Add only 2 ounces of mango nectar per drink to the mixture.
- If you have mangoes laying around the house first remove the skin, cut up the mango into smaller cubes, then add to the mixture. A lot of stores now sell frozen mango chunks that can be thawed. Go with your gut, if you want a lot of mango pulp in your drink then go crazy. If you need a number then add 2 to 3 cubes.
- With your muddler or wooden spoon start to crush and mix your ingredients together.
- You will discover that you just made a big mush of all of the ingredients.
- If you think the mush is not too sweet then you can add a little bit more of the agave syrup. Remember that the mango nectar will tend to be on the sweet side so you don't overdo it.
TIP 4 - Buy some Wholesome Organic Blue Agave Sweetener or other type of agave syrup and use it to replace your supply of white or brown table sugar. Agave is a great substitute for table sugar because it's low in the glycemic index. This means that the body will take longer to absorb the sugar into your bloodstream. On the other hand table sugar is much higher in the glycemic index and will quickly absorb the sugar into your bloodstream causing spikes in your sugar levels. Agave nectar is also sweeter than table sugar so you need less of it to sweeten your coffee or mojito. I'll be writing a post devoted to Blue Agave Nectar very shortly. It really tastes amazing with coffee.
At this point you have two options you can either freeze the mixture or serve it to your guests.
- If you want to freeze the mixture into ice cubes or into a container, just remember to remove the limes if you want to make ice cubes. If you are preserving the entire mixture just leave the limes in the mixture.
- If you want to make individual servings, fill a cup with about 2 to 3 ounces of the mixture. Pour the remaining 2 ounces of mango nectar and mix. Add two or three ice cubes. Then add the 4 ounces of seltzer water. Mix with a spoon and serve. Try using a larger glass so that you don't have to fight to mix all of the ingredients together. You also don't want your drink to overflow.
- If you want to make a pitcher, pour the mixture until it covers 1/3rd of the pitcher. That's around 8 to 12 ounces of the mixture or 2 to 3 ounces per drink. Follow the same concept with the remaining ingredients. Add 8 ounces of mango nectar and 16 ounces of the seltzer water.
- If you want to use alcohol, just add 1 1/2 ounces of rum or gin to your cup, or 5 ounces to your pitcher then serve.
- Mix all of the ingredients and it is now ready to serve.
TIP 5 - I would personally refrain from adding ice to your pitcher. I don't like it when ice dilutes my drink before it's even served. The same goes for Sangria. I recommend that you instead add ice to your guest's cup and then pour the mojito mixture. You might even find that by doing that you'll get more than 4 cups out of your pitcher.
I really hope you enjoy drinking your nice and refreshing virgin or alcoholic mango mojito with friends and family during your next BBQ, or random hot summer day. For more recipes don't forget to check out my Tofu con Sazón blog.
Buen Provecho! =)