[pinit] If you're anything like me and you just don't know what drink to order, so you just say a glass of wine would be fine, this mojitos recipe is for you. It's simple and lightly sweet, and goes down super easy. Make a pitcher of mojitos, some fresh gluten free corn tortillas, and maybe some pico de gallo? I'm never leaving your house. Now that Independence Day has come and gone, turn up the Gloria Estefan (what? Mi tierra is one of my favorite albums ever. Don't make fun). Vamos a Cuba!
Mojitos only have a few ingredients, and if you've never made your own cocktails at home you are really in for a treat. There's something restorative about having a tropical drink right in your own home—that you didn't open a screw-top mixer to make. And most of those screw top mixers? Gluten city.
I would be remiss if I did not remind you to muddle. Ever seen those long bar tools that taper to a flat edge on each end, one smooth and one irregular? It's a muddler. It is used like a mortar and pestle to press cocktail ingredients to release their goodness. Here, it's used to release the juice in the lime together with the essential oils in the fresh mint.
About sugars: You don't have to line the rim with coarsely ground sugar, but seriously—why wouldn't you? And there are instructions below for how to make your own simple syrup. The idea in making simple syrup for use in cocktails is not to cook the syrup (which changes its flavor and color), but rather just to heat it enough to dissolve the sugar in the water. Sugar-in-the-raw is what I recommend for cocktail simple syrup because it dissolves easier. You can even make simple syrup just by shaking the mixture vigorously instead of heating it, but I find that it dissolves more fully when you heat it briefly. And the benefit of using simple syrup is a completely smooth drink, plus more sweetness with less sugar. Stir & enjoy!
2 tablespoons simple syrup* (plus more)
Sugar-in-the-raw for the rim of the glass
1/2 lime, quartered
10 whole leaves fresh mint
2 ounces rum
6 to 8 pieces of ice
1/2 cup club soda (plus more)
Dip a finger in the simple syrup and run it along the rim of a highball glass. Dip the rim in sugar-in-the-raw to coat. Place 3 pieces of lime and all of the mint leaves in the bottom of the highball glass and press the side of a spoon against the side of the glass to crush the lime wedges and mint (to release the oils from the mint and juice the limes). This is called muddling, and you can use a muddler if you have one.
Add the rum, and stir to combine. Fill the glass with ice, and then with club soda. Add the final lime wedge, then stir and serve immediately.
*To make simple syrup, heat equal parts water and sugar-in-the-raw in a small saucepan over medium heat just until the sugar is completely dissolved (about 1 minute). Remove from the heat and allow to cool completely before using. Store, covered, in the refrigerator for up to 2 weeks.