The weather’s warming up and we’re diving into summer cocktails and the Mojito popped into my head this week.
The Mojito has a disputed history but most people agree that it was born on the island of Cuba and is one of the nation's oldest cocktails. One story traces the Mojito to a similar 16th century drink known as "El Draque", after Sir Francis Drake. Some historians contend that African slaves who worked in the Cuban sugar cane fields during the 19th century were instrumental in the cocktail's origin.
Either way, in later years, the Mojito was routinely presented as a favorite drink of author Ernest Hemingway.
A mojito consists of five ingredients: white rum, sugar, lime juice, soda water, and mint. Many hotels in Havana also add Angostura bitters to cut the sweetness of the drink and many bars today in Havana use lemon juice rather than fresh lime.
Now, Mojito’s aren’t a drink I make regularly because I was spoiled once on a business trip to Miami. I ended up having drinks with some co-workers at Bleau Bar at the Fontainebleau Miami Beach. The signature cocktail was a Blueberry Mojito and ever since then, whenever I drink a mojito, I wish I was back in Miami enjoying that tasty drink.
So, this week I did a little research on the Mojito and I found a recipe for the Fontainebleau Blueberry Mojito. I made a few tweaks to the recipe - I decided that I liked lemon instead of lime and I used 2oz. of Rum instead of 1-1/2oz.. But the main flavor component – blueberry puree – remains intact. I know what you're thinking "Johanna, making the puree is an added step!" but trust me, it isn’t difficult and it’s worth the effort!
Since we were mixing up Mojitos at our house in Pennsylvania this week, I selected a local boutique Rum by Manatawny Still Works that I really like. This distillery is only about 25 minutes from our place so we may end up taking a trip over there in the near future.
MIX IT UP
Pennsylvania Blueberry Mojito
6-8 Mint leaves
2 tsp Blueberry Puree
¾ oz Simple Syrup
2 oz Manatawny Still Works Rum
¾ oz Fresh Lemon Juice
Gently muddle the mint leaves in a Collins glass, add the blueberry puree. In a shaker combine the simple syrup, rum, and lemon juice. Fill with ice, shake and pour, unstrained into the Collins glass. Top off with Club soda and garnish with 3-4 blueberries and a sprig of mint.
1 cup Blueberries
½ cup Water
Bring the water to a boil and add the blueberries, reduce heat and simmer 8-10 minutes. Scoop the blueberries into a blender and add about half of the water, blend and add more of the water if needed. This will stay good in the fridge for 2-3 days.
Ok, you've got your drink, now bring on the tunes!
TURN IT UP
Paul’s playlist for this drink focuses on Miami & Cuba.
He starts things off with Miami by U2. This song wasn’t a giant hit for U2, but Paul said that he could see himself having a drink at the Delano and listening to this song.
Weather 'round here choppin' and changin'
Clocks by Cold Play doesn’t seem like it would fit into any of our playlists but this cover by Rhythms del Mundo Cuba absolutely captures the groove and feel of dancing away a Cuban night.
Come out upon my seas
Hey, as long as we are dancing away, let’s do the Cuban Slide by the Pretenders.
AIy YI AIy Ya I wanna dance but my feet won't let me
The New Orleans-based Preservation Hall Jazz Band has been around forever. In 2015, they travelled to Cuba and the Cuban influence is apparent on their newest album. With this next tune, the band explores the Cuban connection to New Orleans with the Afro-Cuban groove of Santiago.
To end this playlist, Paul chose April, 29, 1992 (Miami) by Sublime. When I asked why he chose this song to end the playlist he said “I have no good reason other than I like it there.”
Next stop we hit it was the music shop
So, on a scorching hot summer day, consider mixing up the Blueberry Mojito and turn up the playlist.
Johanna & Paul