Few drinks are as refreshing on a hot summer day as a good mojito. Sugar, mint, rum, lime—it’s heaven in a glass.
The mojito is already practically a perfect drink in every way, so what could possibly make it better? A little seasonal fruit, like strawberries! When they reach their peak at the beginning of summer, strawberries are an excellent accompaniment to a mojito’s sweet, sour, minty flavor.
WHICH RUM TO USE FOR A MOJITO
I use Bacardi, but any white rum will do. White rum (also called silver or light rum) is clear, like vodka, and has a subtle, sweet flavor. It appears in a lot of classic rum cocktails, like the pina colada, the daiquiri, and of course, the mojito. Since you’re mixing rum with other ingredients, an ultra-premium rum isn’t necessary.
THE RIGHT TOOLS TO MAKE A MOJITO
I recommend the following tools if you’re going to make a mojito. You can do without them, of course, but they’ll make the job a lot easier. (They’re also quite useful for making other cocktails, too!)
First, a muddler. Muddlers, which can be made from wood, metal, or rubber, look like tiny meat tenderizers on a stick. When you use a muddler to smash or pulverize fruits and herbs, it brings out their flavor and aroma.
You can use the back of a spoon to do the job, but when it comes to cocktails like mojitos, mint juleps, or a whiskey smash, a muddler really is best.
Second, a citrus juicer. I juice a lot of citrus when making cocktails, and I absolutely swear by a handheld citrus juicer like this one. (In case you didn’t know, this is how to correctly juice a lemon or lime.) There are other ways to juice limes, including with your hands, but I find this to be the quickest and most efficient.
Lastly, a canvas ice bag. The most important part of a mojito is not the rum, or the lime, or even the mint. It’s the ice. Without crushed ice, a mojito isn’t a mojito. The problem is that unless you can afford a $400 countertop pebble ice maker, or your refrigerator helpfully generates it for you, making crushed ice is kind of a pain.
The best way I’ve found to do this is with a canvas ice bag. You place the ice in it, and then beat the tar out of it with a rolling pin. (You can also use an ice mallet, but I find that a rolling pin works just as well.) Voila—crushed ice!
MORE SUMMER-READY COCKTAILS
Strawberry Mojito Recipe
I like to use a simple syrup made with turbinado sugar in my mojitos, since it brings out the molasses flavors of the rum, but plain white sugar works as well.
- 2 to 4 strawberries, hulled and sliced (4 if small berries, 3 if medium, 2 if truly massive)
- 8 mint leaves
- 1/2 ounce simple syrup (1:1 sugar and water; I prefer turbinado sugar)
- 3/4 ounce fresh squeezed lime juice
- 2 ounces white rum
- 1 ounce sparkling water
- Crushed ice
- Citrus juicer
- Canvas ice bag
1 Muddle the strawberries: Place the strawberries, mint, and simple syrup in the bottom of a glass, and muddle until the strawberries are smushed and juicy. If you don’t have a muddler, crumple the mint with your hands just a bit before dropping it into the glass, then smush with the back of a spoon to release the flavor.
2 Add the remaining ingredients: Add crushed ice on top of the strawberries and mint, then pour in the lime juice and rum.
3 Stir: Use a bar spoon or teaspoon to stir the drink. Don't stir too vigorously, otherwise you'll bring the mint to the surface!
4 Top with sparkling water: Fill the remainder of the glass with more crushed ice, then top with sparkling water.
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