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Making the Best Mojito

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2014-07-23-TheBestMojito.jpgThe mint growing in my garden is prolific. I'm really bad about getting out there and thinning it so it pretty much takes over. I don't mind though, I love sprinkling it over summer fruit and mixing it into iced tea and water in the summertime. As far as I'm concerned I could never really have enough mint, I find its uses endless.

Between the prolific mint and a recent trip to Mexico, (where mojitos were flowing) and a slight suggestion for a mojito party, when we returned to the states... the Best Mojito Recipe was born.

Up until now, I was a mojito drinker, not maker. I'm not sure why, but it's something I left to the bartender. So I did a lot of research and read a lot of comments about certain recipes. Mojito's are a finicky drink and can quickly go from refreshing to medicinal tasting, when the ingredients are not balanced. As a winemaker I'm always concerned with balance in wine, in food and cocktails. I found that specific ingredients make a difference for varying reasons.

I hope you give my version a try.

The sugar.

I tried three types of sugar, raw organic-large crystal sugar, regular granulated white sugar and ultrafine baker's sugar.

I did not like the raw, organic large crystal version. With every sip of the straw you get a big clump of sugar in your mouth and I didn't like that. Even with regular, granulated sugar, it did not dissolve quickly enough for me, leaving the whole drink partly unsweetened. The ultrafine baker's sugar is absolutely the way to go. It's available on the baking aisle in what looks like a milk carton. It dissolves well in cold liquids, making it perfect for this drink.

The muddle.

You will need a good muddler to make the proper mojito. I found that you can easily over-muddle the mojito, leaving it bitter from the lime rind. Seven muddles or turns was the perfect amount of twists to release all the necessary flavors of the lime and mint.

The alcohol.

Bacardi Superior rum is classic for a mojito. You don't want to use a gold or light-colored rum. Bacardi Superior is clean and crystal clear, making it the perfect choice. To add my own little citrus twist I splashed a half-ounce of Cointreau. I felt this clean-orange flavored liquor elevated the drink's taste and gave it a really nice finish. Give it a try.

For testing purposes and curiosity I even made a Mexican mojito, changing out the Bacardi for a really good silver tequila. Oh man...I couldn't drink it. I don't think this works at all, stick with rum.

The mineral water.

Tiny, refined bubbles is what you want to use, otherwise your drink will be taken over with carbonation. San Pellegrino sparkling mineral water is the solution. It creates the perfect balance and finishes off the drink nicely.

The glasses.

If you live anywhere rural like me, proper mojito glasses are not at your fingertips. It was already too late in the game to have some shipped from a fancy store. Also, I wanted 12 oz glasses since this was the size glass I had been doing my recipe testing with. I needed a large amount of mojito glasses and the perfect solution was to use tall, (12 oz) jelly mason jars. They are perfect for a large party and you can't beat the cost for a box of twelve.

The Best Mojito

Recipe Created by Cathy Pollak for NoblePig.com | Serves: 1

Ingredients:

8 leaves fresh mint
3 slices of lime, halved, divided
1-1/2 Tablespoons ultrafine baker's sugar (on the baking aisle in a carton)
1.75 ounces Bacardi Superior rum
0.5 ounces Cointreau
chipped ice
San Pellegrino sparkling mineral water
lime and mint for garnish

Directions:

In a tall, 12 oz glass, add mint leaves, 2 slices of lime (that have been halved) and sugar. Using a muddling tool, muddle ingredients in the bottom of the glass for seven turns to release the flavor and juices. Do not over muddle. Add one more slice of lime (halved) and fill the glass to the top with chipped ice.

Pour Bacardi and Cointreau over ice and fill to the top with San Pellegrino. Serve with a regular sized straw, using it to release more of the mint flavor and dissolve the sugar on the bottom of the glass.

- By Cathy Pollak, www.noblepig.com