Wednesday, June 20, 2012


I use mint for exactly three things (mojitos, iced tea, and tabbouleh - look for more on the others in the future), but these three things are important enough, and tasty enough, to merit always keeping a pot of mint growing.  The type that we grow is just good, old-fashioned "spearmint."

Don't, under any circumstance, plant mint in a garden bed!  Left unchecked, it will take over the whole garden, your yard, and possibly even your house.  It is easy to grow but incredibly hard to control.  We learned this the hard way when living at our old house.  We planted some in the small garden bed that we had, and by the time we moved, the garden bed had turned into a mint pasture.   So now, I keep it in a pot.  And recently I used it to make one of my very favorite hot-weather adult beverages, a mojito.

A mojito is, to me, the very essence of "refreshment" contained in a glass.  I first drank one of these in Key West, FL when it was about 95 degrees and 95 percent humidity.  DO NOT confuse this homemade mojito from anything you buy pre-made in the store or order from the menu at Applebees.  This is the real Cuban deal.

To make one mojito, you will need the items I have pictured above as well as some powdered sugar and either a bartender's muddler (yes, it's an actual thing) or a wooden spoon.

Juice one lime into a glass.  Add several leaves of fresh mint, torn into pieces (to better release the flavors).  This is to taste - anywhere from 4-8 leaves.  Then add between one teaspoon and one tablespoon of the powdered sugar (again, to taste.  I don't like them that sweet; my husband does).  Then used either the muddle or the handle end of the wooden spoon to, uh, muddle the flavors together in the bottom of your glass.  Then add a shot of rum (again, to taste), some ice, and top with club soda.  You can also choose to strain these if you like - I feel like it reduces the minty flavor somewhat, but it also reduces green leaves getting stuck in your teeth.
Try this on a hot day.  It will feel like vacation.

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