Mojito Mojo

This is how the craving of the Mojito began on Saturday; a pile of mint on the table.  All of the housekeeping of the week was waiting for me so I cleaned and did the four loads of laundry that needed doing (how can only two people accumulate FOUR LOADS OF LAUNDRY in a mere week?!) and then was able to escape to the yard for some maintenance and watering.  My mint was starting to look really sad and overgrown and I decided while watering that I would just harvest all of it and let it go another round before it's all said and done.  I have kept it potted because, as we all have learned the hard way, mint just takes over anywhere it's in the ground.  This particular pot of mint was started about 5 years ago and I just put two or three new plants in every year and it just keeps growing and growing.  It is one of the first things to come up in the yard every spring and I am giddy when it comes up.  What a great herb mint is.  So versatile! 

    It really looked charming in the pitcher and then the smell kept calling to me.  Memories of lovely white sand beaches, azure blue waters, blazing hot sun that makes you sun drunk from being on the beach, and Mojitos.  Exotic, cool, slightly fizzy, tart, minty magic in a glass, sweating from the cold- Mojitos.  Pure liquid relief.  The first Mojito I ever had was in the Caymans at the Lighthouse restaurant (see right) and I can recall that memory as clear as a bell (such a delightful dinner and an amazing view- actual view from restaurant).  The taste was like nothing I had ever tasted nor expected and I was hooked.  That trip was three years ago and still- TO THIS DAY- I cannot recreate that exact taste.  I have tried DOZENS of recipes and none of them taste right.  It isn't just the Mojito from the Lighthouse either.  We had them at the Four Seasons on the island for lunch and they were divine there as well (really, let's be serious, can the Four Seasons ever do anything that isn't divine?).  I am beginning to think it was an island thing.  Just some ethereal memory I had after too much salt and sand.  Scuba diving does make me slightly loopy, maybe they weren't as good as I am remembering?  No.  They were that good.

      So I decided that I had to have one and assembled all the troops to give it another try.  The recipe is still not right, but it's getting closer.  I have tried it with superfine sugar, simple syrup, raw sugar, you name it and I have done it.  I have tried it with 10 year old aged black rum, gold rum, and light rum (my choice for this).  It is just my white whale I guess.  Last night I started with 1/4 cup of mint, one heaping tablespoon organic sugar.  Crush the mint up with the sugar with a wooden spoon (I am quite comfortable here, as this is also the beginning of a mint julep).  Then add 1/4 cup light rum,  the juice of 1/2 of a lime and ice.  Finish with club soda and sprigs of mint. 

This is what the finished product should look like.  It tasted better than I expected, but it is still not there yet.  I am just lacking in the Mojito mojo.  It would not be nearly as heartbreaking if I could get a decent one stateside, but I haven't yet.  They are all these terrible, bastardized, syrupy sweet, nasty things that I can barely choke down.  Even the good Cuban restaurants I have been to here in the 'ville and in Atlanta can't remember how to make a good one.  So sad.  I guess I will need to go back to the Caribbean to repeat it.  It's a sacrifice, but one I am willing to make to be true to the drink.   

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  1. Ooh -now I am intrigued! I have had my share of mojitos but am thinking never one that was outstanding. I mean, really, how can you go wrong with a base ingredient that's the same as a mint julep? We are headed to Turks and Caicos in January - I will assess the mojito situation there and report back!

  2. Lady I will need a full photo journal report of the trip and all of the drink lovliness that the Caribbean offers:)