When it comes to a mojito, there is no middle ground: They are either great or they are worse than terrible. The instructions sound simple, but building a mojito is an art. Done right it is a thing of absolute summer awesomeness. But a mojito done even a tiny bit wrong is just wretched – you are almost further ahead sitting there parched and miserable with no drink at all.
This is a real problem because it means that, for a lot of people, there is just no point in trying to get a mojito. If you go out, you’re pooched – the vast majority of bartenders in these parts have no clue as to what they are doing and try and pass off a squirt of lime juice, a shot of rum, and a lonely leaf of mint as some sort of representative of this fabled drink. And if you stay home, well, the sad degradation of our society that has men dressing like hoboes in public has also led to a deplorable situation where the average person no longer owns even the simplest bar tools, let alone a proper muddler and the skill to actually use it.
Don’t get me started.
So instead of a poor approximation of a mojito, let’s make something else. Something with the summer-sweat vibe of the legendary original, something equally refreshing and fun, but with a method that you can pull off quickly and easily at home. Meaning you can skip right to the enjoyment of drinking the damn thing. And three or four follow-ups.
I present to you the True North Barbeque “Faux-jito”. It’s summery and fizzy and crazy refreshing. Ingredients and instructions (as always) after the jump. Enjoy.
For each Faux-jito you need:
lots of ice
one nice sprig of mint
a palmful of blackberries or raspberries (optional, see note)
one shot of a quality caçhaca (see note)
one half can of lemon-lime pop (Sprite or a clone thereof)
A Note About Caçhaca: This is a booze that most folks in the Great White North are sadly unfamiliar with. To over-simplify, it is the Brazillian version of rum. But where rum is distilled from molasses, caçhaca is distilled from raw cane sugar, and has a brighter and far more complex taste. It works very well here to make up for some of the deep sweetness you lose when you toss away the traditional muddling of the lime wedges and sugar in an old-school mojito. You can now get a decent selection at most liquor stores, but don’t expect the staff there to be able to help you decide on a brand. If you are just starting out look for Weber Haus – it is middle of the pack price-wise, and is quite nice. If you feel like splurging try the Porto Morretes – it’s a few bucks more but is nigh-on-to amazing.
A Note About The Berries: Yes, berries. In a mojito. Specifically mildly-tart and brightly coloured field berries. They are optional, but don’t leave them out. Just as the caçhaca makes up for the loss of depth that the muddling would give you, the berries add a bit of tartness and fruity kick that you would usually get from the rinds of the lime. They also make the drink look really summery and cool. Plus they have anti-oxidants, putting this concoction smack dab into the realm of health food. Really!
Ready to start? The actual build of the drink is simple. The only tools you need are a highball glass and your own sweet self.
Step 1: Tear the bottom two leaves off of the sprig of mint and put them in the bottom of the glass. Add one ice cube, put your hand over the top of the glass, and shake it two or three times. You want the ice cube to bounce on the mint leaves, bruising them but not tearing them, so be subtle here. Don’t shake it like a freaking can of spray paint.
Step 2: Add half the berries and then drop two or three more ice cubes on top of them. Gently press down on the top ice cubes so that you slightly break the berries between the “ice cube vice” – you want to release some juice and break the skins but not turn them into berry mush. You will get this sort of effect here:
Step 3: Add your shot of caçhaca and the half can of Sprite (or whatever supermarket clone brand you favour). Stir. Add the rest of the berries and then as many ice cubes as you can to fill the glass. Top it with your sprig of mint.
Step 4: Enjoy. And then go mix another, the first one won’t last long.
That’s it – simple, fun, and super delicious. It also looks like a million bucks with the berries and mint in the sparkling clear fizzy drink. Obviously the half can of pop means that you either have to make one for a friend at the same time or make a second one for yourself. Neither option is exactly a tragedy. And for reasons that can only be explained by the most advanced sort of science, these taste best sitting on a patio or deck. If you can, add a long handled spoon to each glass so your taste testers can fish out the berries along the way and enjoy all the vitamin-packed goodness.