Mojitos are such a refreshing way to chase the sticky morning heat; but if you're like me, the last thing you want is a big mouthful of yard clippings every time you take a sip. And lot of mojitos are so cloying that they leave me even thirstier, rather than slaking a sticky throat the way a proper cocktail should. Clearly this wheel, while not needing reinvention, needed a little tuning.
- Yield:1 cocktail
- For the homemade peppermint extract:
- 1 cup mint leaves and stems (preferably a mix of peppermint, spearmint, and lemon balm if desired)
- 1 cup vodka or grain alcohol
- For the bitter lime syrup
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 cup water
- 1 lime
- For the cocktail
- Crushed ice
- 2 ounces cachaça (or light rum)
- 2 teaspoons bitter lime syrup
- 1/2 teaspoon homemade peppermint extract
- 4 ounces cold club soda or seltzer water
- Garnish: slice of lime and sprig of mint
Make the peppermint extract: chop mint and place in a sealable jar. Cover with vodka. Close jar and shake, then leave in a sunny window for two or three days. Strain through a coffee filter and store in a small bottle. It will be dark amber brown in color.
Make the bitter lime syrup: Heat 1/2 cup water with 1/2 cup sugar in a small saucepan. Cut zest off lime with a vegetable peeler, add to syrup. Quarter lime, squeezing the juice into the syrup and then add the juiced, pulpy lime pieces to the pan. Simmer for 15 minutes, stirring occasionally. Strain and store in a small jar or bottle in the refrigerator.
Make the cocktail: Fill a tumbler with crushed ice. Add cachaça, bitter lime syrup, and peppermint extract. Stir gently. Pour in the soda, stir gently to mix. Garnish with lime slice and one sprig of mint.