Tuesday, July 10, 2007

Holy Moly Mojito

A couple of months back when my dear hubby was away on his sailing trip, I drove to Carlsbad (that's a town about halfway between Los Angeles and San Diego on the Southern California coast) to spend the weekend with my friend, Linda. Our friendship goes way back - to about 1987, I'd guess. She used to work for the Los Angeles Times and called on the ad agency I co-owned. The ad agency was sold in 1995, I retired, but over all those years, Linda and I became friends and have been ever since. She's even traveled with us to Italy and to France.

We had two different small groups (all friends of ours) who rented a villa for a week - Villa Catola - in Tuscany. Then, in 2006 a slightly different group went to Provence and rented a fabulous Mas (farmhouse) near Aix-en-Provence. Great fun both times. (If anybody wants more info about either of our European rentals, email me separately.) Linda and I can talk for hours and hours about family, friends, food, cooking, restaurants, books. So, we never lack for conversation when we get together.

Last month, though, in Carlsbad, I requested we go to eat at George's at the Cove in La Jolla. It's Linda's favorite restaurant. We arrived early and sat out on the terrace to enjoy the view. It was lovely. It was warm but not hot, and I wanted something refreshing rather than wine. Normally I'd order wine, but this day I ordered a mojito. They make a good one.

Mojito recipes abound on the internet. I've made it at home and ordered the drink in various restaurants, but now I'm enough of a connoisseur that I won't order it if they use sweet/sour mix. I want real-live-lime and freshly picked mint plus simple syrup. Otherwise I order something else. I've even had some interesting variations a time or two.

The history of the mojito is very interesting [who would know?]. It dates back to the 1500's in Havana when Sir Francis Drake, the pirate, could have devastated the island. He didn't, but one of his subordinates, Richard Drake, invented this cocktail, called the Draque, Drak, or Drac. During his adventures to seize and conquer other Spanish ports, Drake introduced this concoction (of his own invention) to different Spanish citizens. The Draque, made originally by combining aguardiento (a forerunner of rum), sugar, lime and mint, was served with a wooden spoon and a cock's tail handle. Mostly it was consumed for medicinal purpose [really, I ask, incredulously?]. In the 1800's the drink was modified to include rum. The name Mojito comes from the African word mojo, which means to place a little spell.

It still is a rum based drink with lime juice, sugar, mint and some soda water. Mild. Lazy. Easy. Minty. And did I say refreshing? I found the coolest video on how to make a mojito at the Bacardi website. If you've never made one, go check this out. Here's the direct link, and you have to enter your birthday to prove that you're over 21 to continue (yea, right, from a website?). If that link doesn't work go to the main Bacardi website to get to it. It's even got some swinging music to go along with. As I write this it's still morning, so it's a tad too early to make a mojito right now, but maybe later today I'll plunk-me-down on our patio and have a long, slow slurp and give myself a little spell. With my foot up, I know.

Bacardi Original Cuban Mojito
Serves: 1

1/2 jigger sugar, or to taste
1 jigger Bacardi rum
3 jiggers soda water
12 mint leaves
1/2 lime, squeezed

Directions: In a tall glass pour in the sugar and part of the mint leaves. Using a muddler (pictured at right) or some kind of flat implement, mash the mint and sugar together a little bit, then add the rum, soda water, ice, a small wedge of lime and garnish with additional mint. Serve to smiles.

To view a printable recipe, click on title at top.

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