Sometimes the best things in life happen in the most unexpected ways. So it was for me last month when my dear friend Vincent called out of the blue, after a two-year hiatus, to invite me for dinner. “Let’s meet at Cuba!” he said. Cuba, a lively and fun restaurant in Greenwich Village, has its own in-house cigar roller and a fantastic live band. As I walked in, I saw Vincent waiting for me at the bar, sipping a mojito. “Give me one of those!” I asked the waiter. It was my first time ordering a mojito — never a fan of syrupy sweetness in drinks, I’d always shied away from the famous Cuban cocktail.
As expected, the mojito that arrived was a bit too sweet for my taste, but it did inspire me to make my own! No sooner had I arrived home than I rummaged through my liquor cabinet only to find a fabulous aged rum. (I’d forgotten I even had it!) Then, as always when creating a recipe, I went to work thinking about the flavors of the drink.
I love all the fresh mint that gets crushed in the classic cocktail, but I wanted to take it to the next level. So I added fresh basil to it. And, needless to say, only a little sugar went into the drink. The result was a refreshing and perfect summer drink — not too sweet, full of flavor and with a nice little kick to boot. I paired it with a cucumber and avocado ceviche — I’d just bought baby burpless cucumbers and the first hothouse tomatoes of the season at our local farmers’ market.
This recipe has been a favorite of my guests many times over already, and I can only hope it will soon be one of yours as well!
Recipe: Cucumber and Avocado Ceviche
Dark Rum Mojito with Basil
active time: 10 min
- 1 large lime – cut in 1/2″ pieces
- 8 large mint leaves
- 4 large basil leaves
- 2 teaspoons organic sugar
- 3 oz (89ml) dark rum
- club soda or sparkling water
- fresh mint and lime slices as garnish
- Step 1: Place the lime, mint, basil, and sugar in a mixing glass. Using a muddler, crush the ingredients until the sugar has dissolved and the lime has released its juice. Top with ice cubes and rum. Shake vigorously until very cold.
- Step 2: Fill 2 tumblers with ice. Strain the mixture into the glasses. Top with a little club soda or sparkling water. Garnish with a mint leaf and lime slice. Serve immediately.
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Disclaimer: As always, my point of view is my own. I do not accept samples, and have no commercial relationship with any product, food or wine company.