A week ago, I attended a lovely Memorial Day BBQ at my friend’s house, and when I asked if I could bring anything, the hostess suggested that I bring some hard alcohol for summer cocktails. This immediately got my brain working: I knew I had mint in my fridge… and mint makes me think of mojitos… and mojitos makes me think of rum… and rum makes me think of pirates… and pirates makes me think of the Caribbean… and the Caribbean–
Wait. I’ve taken this word association too far. Let’s go back to mojitos. Clearly, this would be a perfect barbecue option, and besides, I didn’t really have much experience making classic mojitos. Sure, I’ve made the green tea variation dozens of times (including a variation on that variation to be published on this blog in the next few days), but I’ve rarely made claaaasssic mojitos.
WELL, after a quick trip to Ralphs supermarket (where a handle of Bacardi was marked down from $27 to $13!!), I trotted over to my friend’s house to assemble some pitchers of the much loved Cuban cocktail. My usual trusty photographer Sly was off in the Rocky Mountains somewhere, pedaling a pennyfarthing from one cowboy town to another, and so I had to rely on the photographic skills of our friend Havarti. I’m proud to say she did a fine job, especially given the backlighting and the limitations of my iPhone camera.
Pictures after the jump…
Like any good mojito, this one starts with mint. Lots of it.
A bag of ice waits at my feet like a sedated puppy.
And there’s the rum, hiding amidst Pringles and red wine, much like me on a good day.
The exciting process of plucking mint leaves off their stems.
Havarti takes a moment to observe her footwear.
The mint, meanwhile, is plucked and ready to go.
Time to slice up a few limes for the preliminary round of muddling.
Each pitcher gets one lime, sliced into eighths. And now I muddle, courtesy of my muddler (named Bette, in case you don’t remember).
Really getting in there with Bette muddler. The narrow opening up top makes this muddling experience a highly tricky one.
Another glimpse of Havarti’s feet.
A nearby salad. I stayed far away from it, given that it was STREWN with strawberries, my mortal enemy.
Havarti, warping her feet into all sorts of strange positions that are not unlike certain scenes from Misery.
This muddling is hard work.
Time for sugar! A whole cup, half in each pitcher.
The sugar party has begun.
A lottttttt of sugar.
Each pitcher gets three more limes sliced into wedges. Phase 2 of the muddling begins.
After the lime juice, sugar, and mint have been sufficiently muddled, it’s time to thwack the ice with Bette muddler. We’ll need to fill each pitcher with ice; so loosening it in this way is highly recommended.
Ice is in place.
Time for rum. I just eyeballed it. If you need more of a guideline, just pour until you feel like an alcoholic.
On to pitcher #2…
And of course we must, must top off with club soda.
Time for a gentle stir. The rule of thumb is that there’s no need to stir carbonated cocktails as the bubbles will do the job for you, but given that there was so much muddling goodness at the bottom of these pitchers, I simply had to dredge the flavors up with a spoon. HAD TO.
The pitcher is complete!
Time to taste. I look nervous.
Glug, glug, glug… it tastes good! It tastes really good! Huzzah!!
Right on the money! Welcome back, Summer!