Mint isn’t just mint. There’s peppermint, spearmint, ginger mint, apple mint, pineapple mint, chocolate mint, lime mint and on and on. (Anyone ever seen Best in Show? Yeah, varieties of mint are kinda like the “I can name all the nuts” scene.) Different mints have different levels of super potent compounds that give them their distinctive and cooling flavors. One of the most prominent is menthol.
Mojito lovers get in passionate debates about the “right” mint to use in this refreshing Cuban drink. There is even a cultivar of spearmint mint called “Mojito” that is supposedly the best for the eponymous cocktail.
The truth is, a good mojito can be made with many different kinds of mint, but each will give a different result based on the flavor compounds in mint. Many people, including me, will prefer the more gentle flavor of spearmint over the more assertive peppermint in this drink, but lately I’ve been playing around with Chocolate Mint (a peppermint variety) with dangerously delicious results.
Try it out and let me know what you think.
Chocolate Mint (below) is a dark green mint with a more rounded leaf than you typically see on spearmint. The best way to have some is to grow it. If you are limited to grocery store mint offerings you will likely be buying spearmint, which also makes a perfectly lovely drink as long as it’s fresh, sweet and flavorful.
Because the flavor of mint can be so variable, I try to discreetly pop a small piece of leaf in my mouth and sample the flavor before buying ready-to-use mint at the grocers or cuttings from the nursery.
- Several sprigs Fresh Chocolate Mint
- 1/2 fresh lime
- 2 oz. white rum
- 2 tsp. superfine sugar or 1 tablespoon simple syrup
- 2 oz. soda water
Cut your fresh lime into quarters and pick off 8 or 10 nice looking leaves from your mint sprigs and tear them up a little bit. Leave the tip of the sprig intact to garnish if desired.
In a pint-sized mason jar, squeeze the juice of two wedges of lime (one-half of a lime total) into the jar, then drop the lime wedges into the bottom of the jar. Add the mint leaves and either two teaspoons of superfine sugar or one tablespoon of simple syrup, depending on what you have. Muddle the lime, mint and sugar, and make sure the sugar is fully dissolved before proceeding.
Add 2 oz. white rum and enough cracked ice to fill your mason jar. Give the drink a good muddle to mix the ingredients right in the jar, then top the drink with a heavy splash of club soda – about 2 oz. Garnish with the tip of the mint sprig and serve right away.
Happy weekend friends! Cheers.