These days, no drink is more a metaphor for good times in the Caribbean than the Mojito… and why not?! Mixed well, the Mojito is light, tasty and endlessly refreshing; the perfect accompaniment for a nice day under the warm Caribbean sun.
In its purest form, this classic Cuban creation is a simple blend of five readily available ingredients – white rum, sugar, lime juice, sparkling water and fresh mint. It’s all stuff most of us can easily find between our local grocery and liquor stores, which, when combined with the drink’s fantastic flavor, no doubt explains the Mojito’s vast proliferation among all manner of bars and restaurants seemingly everywhere.
On the flip-side, this also explains why so many people mess with it.
For some mixologists, it seems, el Mojito is the blank canvas of Caribbean cocktails, tempting them with its simplicity to add all manner of ingredients to an already winning formula. Apple, cinnamon, strawberry, pear, raspberry, even chocolate versions can be had, especially here in South Florida where the original Mojito is often the toughest to find.
Some of these creative iterations are good, especially those that feature “guest ingredients” normally found in the region. You know, keeping the Caribbean in this most Caribbean drink…?
That’s why I particularly like the version put forth by our own St. Croix-based mixologist, Jesse Card. His Mojito stays true to the original, with just the quintessential Caribbean flavor of coconut added as a substitute for the sparkling water. For a drink long on refreshment, it’s a great choice. As Jesse says:
Coconut water has five of the essential electrolytes we all need to stay hydrated, so it’s perfect for balancing out an afternoon of drinking at the beach.
Coconut water is also low in carbs, 99% fat free, provides a boost to the immune system, cleanses the digestive tract, helps to control diabetes, improves poor circulation… The list of benefits goes on and on, and so can you if you give your Mojito a little Crucian-style makeover. Here’s how…
Combine mint, sugar and lime in a pint glass. Lightly muddle. Fill glass with ice and add rum and coconut water. Shake vigorously for 30 seconds and serve.