Mojito with lime and mintEssential Rum Cocktail #1: MOJITOAs we smell and taste it, rum should always remind us of its origin. That origin is, of course, the noble sugarcane. By the same token, a Mojito should remind us of freshly-crushed hierbabuena, or spearmint. A Mojito that upon visual inspection contains mint, but fails the olfactory test is not a good Mojito.
Essential Rum Cocktails - Part I
Often referred to as “ the one-bottle bar ”, rum’s versatility allows it to be used even in standard cocktails that traditionally call for whiskey, gin and vodka. Rum Old-Fashioneds, Rum Martinis, Rum Screwdrivers and Rum Manhattans are both great cooling agents, as well as, catalysts for warm comradery.
While alcohol in general is often associated with celebrations, few distillates encapsulate the desire to dance, sing and rejoice as much as rum does. Author William James encapsulated it perfectly: “It is in fact the great exciter of the Yes function in man. It brings its votary from the chill periphery of things to the radiant core”.
I’ve addressed in past columns the nuances of planning and executing the perfect party. I also talked about when to serve certain types of drinks and how to get skilled help to better serve your guests during the party. It is now time to discuss in more details the actual drinks. I intend to share with you what I consider the fundamental Rum Repertoir for any modern host.
Before we start, however, it is important to review a few basic, yet crucial, principles:
• Inferior quality rums will make inferior-tasting cocktails. Do not assume that expensive rums are for sipping and cheap rums are for mixing. While it is true that you will find some inexpensive rums that make good cocktails, the vast majority of value-priced rums do not belong in cocktails worthy of your dear guests.
• Resist the urge to imitate skilled bartenders who can free-pour precise amounts of spirits straight out of the bottles. Use a measuring jigger for all your cocktails.
• Keep your ice as cold as possible. Avoid using ice that is already “weeping,” as it will turn into water quickly, diluting the flavors of your cocktails.
• Use the proper glass for each cocktail. Pre-chill the glasses if possible.
• If your cocktails call for fruit juices, seek first to produce them from fresh fruit, defaulting to concentrates/frozen alternatives only if fresh items are hard to come by.
• Do not experiment with your guests, stick to known, time-tested recipes.
Keeping these basic principles in mind will go a long way in ensuring your guests enjoy your contributions to the world of bibulous pleasure.
Essential Rum Cocktail #1: MOJITO
As we smell and taste it, rum should always remind us of its origin. That origin is, of course, the noble sugarcane. By the same token, a Mojito should remind us of freshly-crushed hierbabuena, or spearmint. A Mojito that upon visual inspection contains mint, but fails the olfactory test is not a good Mojito.
Classic Mojito Recipe
10 Fresh Mint Leaves
1/2 Lime, cut into 4 wedges
2 Tbsp. White Sugar, or to taste
1 c. Ice Cubes
1 1/2 oz. White Rum
1/2 c. Club Soda
Place mint leaves and 1 lime wedge into a sturdy glass. Use a muddler to crush the mint and lime to release the mint oils and lime juice. Add 2 more lime wedges and the sugar, and muddle again to release the lime juice. Do not strain the mixture. Fill the glass almost to the top with ice. Pour the rum over the ice, and fill the glass with carbonated water. Stir and garnish with the remaining lime wedge.
• When muddling the mint, make sure to bruise the leaves only, don’t dissintegrate them. No one likes having small pieces of mint stuck between their teeth.
• You may need to use up to a whole lime, depending on how fresh they are. Always test the quality of your limes ahead of time. The same applies to the mint leaves, you may need to use fewer or more, depending on their condition.
Dr. Ron is a seasoned bartender devoted to exploring the many facets of rum. It has been said that he has rum running through his veins! He is used to serving up fine spirits and words of wisdom to all those lucky enough to find an open seat at his bar. Fortunately for us, Dr. Ron has agreed to be a regular contributor to “Got Rum?” magazine. He happily answers questions on topics ranging from mixology to relationships and etiquette.