A classic cocktail gets Western flair.
The mojito may be a Cuban concoction, but the mixture of white rum, lime juice, sugar, mint, and soda water has won over cocktail enthusiasts the world over. That includes the West. To celebrate the refreshing cocktail and National Mojito Day on July 11, we’ve collected a few mojito recipes and share them below.
2 ounces Below Deck Ginger Rum
8 – 10 mint leaves
½ ounce fresh lime juice
½ ounce simple syrup
2 teaspoons sugar
1 dash Hella Bitters
Muddle sugar, mint leaves, and bitters. Combine lime juice, ginger rum, and simple syrup. Top with soda water.
Courtesy J.W. Marriott Hill Country Resort and Spa
2 lime wedges, plus extra for garnish
6 – 8 fresh mint
1½ ounces house-infused blueberry rum (rum, blueberries, and sugar)
½ ounce agave
Blueberries, for garnish
Muddle limes and mint in a cocktail shaker. Add rum and agave. Stir and pour into glass with ice. Top with club soda.
Garnish with lime wedge on cup and fresh blueberries in drink.
Cross a margarita with a mojito, and you get a mezcalini. Add smoke, and you achieve nirvana, not to mention notoriety. It may also be the most refreshing cocktail ever to slake your thirst. I discovered it at the rooftop dining room of the sophisticated Casa Oaxaca Hotel in Mexico. Smoked salt works fine for rimming the glass in the United States. — Steve Raichlen
1 cup mezcal
1 cup fresh lime juice (it must be fresh)
¾ cup simple syrup or smoked simple syrup
2 tablespoons Cointreau (or other orange-flavored liqueur)
1 medium-size cucumber, peeled, seeded, and cut into ¼-inch dice (about 1 cup)
1 bunch fresh yerba buena, spearmint, or peppermint, rinsed, shaken dry, and separated into sprigs
½ cup smoked salt or kosher salt
1 lime wedge, for moistening the glass rims
6 jumbo ice cubes or 18 regular or smoked ice cubes
Combine the mezcal, lime juice, simple syrup, and Cointreau in a pitcher, cover, and refrigerate until serving.
Just before serving, place the cucumber and yerba buena in a mortar or bowl and lightly crush them with a pestle or muddler. Stir this mixture into the pitcher. If you make the mezcalini right before serving, you can muddle the cucumber and yerba buena right in the pitcher using a long-handled wooden spoon.
Optional — for even more smoke flavor, smoke the mezcalini with a handheld smoker. Cover the pitcher with plastic wrap, leaving one edge open for the smoker tube. Just before serving, load the smoker with sawdust following the manufacturer’s instructions. Insert the tube and fill the pitcher with smoke. Quickly remove the tube, seal the pitcher with plastic wrap, and let stand for 3 – 4 minutes. Stir well with a bar spoon and repeat once more.
To serve, spread out the smoked salt in a shallow bowl. Moisten the rims of 6 large martini glasses with the lime wedge, then dip them in the salt. Shake off the excess.
Place 1 jumbo or 3 regular-size ice cubes in each glass. Pour the mezcalini into the glasses. Spoon some of the cucumber and yerba buena into each glass, taking care not to drip on the salt.
Mezcalini recipe excerpted and adapted with permission from Project Smoke by Steven Raichlen (Workman Publishing, 2016), from the May/June 2016 issue.
Photography: Eastside Distilling, Matthew Benson/Courtesy Project Smoke © 2016 Workman Publishing