June 2, 2016, posted by Gina – A few weeks ago I was in one of my favorite shops searching for some fresh, colorful plants to place around my home. As I was checking out, the cashier asked if I wanted some free mint. Puzzled, I asked why the mint was free. Apparently, it had not sold and now looked half dead after languishing too long in the shop. I was told it was Mojito mint and I thought I could at least make a few Mojitos before it finally bites the dust. So two small, sad Mojito mint plants made it into the back of my car. I wondered what makes Mojito mint different from any other mint and discovered that it is a variety of mint native to Cuba. Its mild flavor is not overly sweet or pungent like other mints and can be used to season meat and confections and, of course, it’s the star of the Mojito.
Upon arriving home, I planted my very anemic mint plants in some really good soil, a five minute endeavor. I can’t wait to see if they are happy in the new home I gave them. It will be fun to wait a few weeks to show you how and if they grow, so stay tuned.
The very first Mojito I ever had was a strawberry Mojito at the Grand Hotel in Point Clear, Alabama. This 160 year old hotel, which has survived numerous hurricanes, sits on Mobile Bay and is surrounded by the elegant, twisting branches of massive live oak trees. This is one of my favorite places to visit. I happen to have a book from the Grand Hotel that has their Mojito recipe in it. So, while we’re waiting to see what the fate of the Mojito mint will be, I am passing along the Grand Mojito recipe:
THE GRAND MOJITO
3 mint leaves
2 tablespoons Simple Syrup
1 ½ oz. rum
Lime Wedge and mint leaf for garnish
Cut the lime half into three wedges. Combine the lime wedges with the three mint leaves in a cocktail shaker. Muddle lightly to blend the flavors. Add the Simple Syrup and rum. Fill the shaker with ice. Seal the shaker and shake vigorously for 12 seconds. Pour into a highball glass and garnish with an additional lime wedge and mint leaf.
*For a hand-crafted strawberry mojito, muddle 3 strawberries with the lime and mint. (This makes for a really pretty red drink)
Michelle’s postscript: When I first moved to France in 2012, I was surprised to see Mojitos advertised on quite a few sidewalk signs outside of bars. In my mind the French were forever sitting at sidewalk cafés with a glass of wine on the table. I had never really thought about what cocktails they might be drinking. According to Spiritueux Magazine blog, Mojito’s are the most popular cocktail in France. So popular in fact that the Mojito represents 80% of all cocktails sold in France!