Monday, July 18, 2011

mojitos to go

When life (or your fire escape herb garden) gives you more mint than you know what to do with, it's mojito time. And if you're going to someone else's place for a summertime barbecue, as we did last weekend, it's mojitos to-go time!

This is how you do it:

Sorry, Thiis is howww we doo it! (This is how we do it.)
Thanks, Montell Jordan.

My friend Mike of Paloma and Colonial fame has taught me a few things about bringing cocktails to parties. Not only does always he show up with something delicious to drink, like a good Boy Scout, he is always prepared. Bottle opener? Check. Chilled booze? Check. Limes or other garnishes? Check. Mixers? He's got it covered. The last time he came to our house, he even brought his own ice in these awesome round, Japanese-style ice molds. I am not even close to being that cool.

When you're playing bartender at someone else's house, it's best not to assume that they will have bitters, or a muddler, or anything special you need to mix your drinks. Just bring everything you need in a tote bag. So when you get to the party, you'll be good to go and won't need to bother your host for too many things, maybe glasses or ice at the most.

For our barbecue last weekend at my friend Mimi's place, I pre-batched my ginger mojitos at home so everything would be ready to pour as soon as we got there. I made a ginger-mint simple syrup and when it cooled, combined it with fresh lime juice and a good amount of light rum. This mixture went into a clean plastic bottle where it sat in the fridge overnight.
Mimi provided this lovely pitcher, so all I had to do was fill it with the lime-mint-rum-syrup mixture, add some seltzer, then pour the mojitos into cups with extra mint sprigs and lime wedges (prewashed and cut, stored in a little Ziploc baggie). Simple! And no dragging Mimi away from her hostess duties. In fact, if you're hosting the party, this system works just as well. Just pre-batch everything and assign someone to pour the drinks when everyone arrives.

Sure, it's a little more of a pain to prepare and carry a bottle of mojito mix and seltzer than a bottle of wine. But when it comes to making the drinks, it couldn't be easier. And you get to be the cocktail hero for the night, which wins you points with people forever.
Big batch ginger mojitos
This is the way I make mojitos, so use this recipe as a loose guide. You might like a sweeter, or less sweet, or stiffer, or less stiff drink.

(Makes about 10 drinks)

2 1/2 cups water
2 cups sugar
1 large knob of ginger (about 4 inches long), peeled and chopped into large chunks
1 very large handful of fresh mint sprigs (about 2 cups), plus extra sprigs for garnish
1 cup fresh lime juice, plus 1 lime sliced into thin wedges
1 1/4 cup light rum

To make the ginger-mint simple syrup, combine the water, sugar, ginger, and mint in a saucepan. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally. When the mixture comes to a boil, let it simmer for 2 minutes, then turn off the heat and place a lid on the pot. Set aside and let the mint and ginger steep for 30 minutes. When the syrup is ready, strain out the mint and ginger and pour the liquid into a large seal-able container or pitcher. Add the lime juice and rum. Shake well, then store the mixture in the refrigerator until you're ready to go to the party or serve the drinks. To serve, fill each glass halfway full with the mojito mixture, then top off with seltzer and give it a quick stir. Add an ice cube or two and garnish with extra mint and lime.


Laura said...

This post brings back memories from a camping and float trip a few years ago. I made Mojitos to go in a 4 gallon insulated beverage dispenser. The mojitos were perfect by the time we came off the river. (and yes, I had a group to help me finish them ;-)

Unknown said...

Montell and the ring of that one.

Lisa said...

Laura: This is Laura Gerding, right? I was thinking of you when I was making these, remembering your super-slick makeshift hotel mojitos.

Tender Branson: Two great tastes that taste great together.

Daniel said...

I bet Montell is enjoying a mojito somewhere right now.


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