Toast to the last days of summer with Caroline's custom mojitos
Let's not rush things people. Classes don't start for five days, but I'm already hearing talk of book-buying, class-swapping and meeting with professors. I expect better. This last week of freedom should be used to take five-hour naps and watch Top Chef marathons, not to organize study groups or find internships. Let's celebrate this last glorious weekend of summer with cookouts, Frisbee and the ultimate summer cocktail - the mojito.
There are hundreds of mojito recipes out there, and while they all call for different types of rum and sugar, the mint, lime and club soda remain the same. I've been trying to find the perfect mojito recipe since I began bartending three years ago, and this summer I feel as though I have finally discovered it. I've cut out the cane sugar used in most recipes and replaced it with 7Up. It's a simpler mix and distributes more evenly than real sugar. I also choose white rum over dark because it makes a more attractive drink and is far less expensive, which means more mojitos for everybody.
*Caroline's Ultimate Mojito*
* 3 Lime wedges
* 4 Large mint leaves
* 1 Part white rum
* 1 Part club soda
* 1 Part 7Up or Sprite
* Ice - preferably store bought
To begin, grab a clean, dry highball glass and dump in the mint leaves and limes. I would recommend buying your mint from the farmers' market on Capitol Square. It is fresher, cheaper and comes in larger bunches than what is available at most grocery stores. I only buy my limes from the fruit stand man on State Street, but that is because we're engaged in a torrid love affair. He just doesn't know it, yet.
Next, muddle the leaves and wedges together until they form a nice pulp at the bottom of the glass. It usually takes about 15 seconds, but I realize everyone is not ripped like me. You can find muddlers at most local liquor stores - they look like tiny baseball bats and can double as bully clubs if your friends get rowdy. The handle of a heavy butter knife works just fine, too, and can be swiped from any of the residence hall cafeterias at a considerably lower cost. Take a moment and inhale the fabulous fragrance you've released - you'll appreciate the mental note when you're surrounded by sweaty people in Bascom Hall next week.
Fill your glass with ice cubes, and add the rum. Feel free to pour a little extra - you've earned it, right?
Top off your drink with the club soda and 7Up. For all of you out there who just now considered using Mountain Dew instead of 7Up, stop it right now. I will not let you destroy this thing of beauty, like those who put ketchup on eggs do. When you're done, give it a good stir or shake, stick in a straw, preferably twisty, and garnish with a lime wedge or a lime wheel if you're feeling sassy.
Mojitos are best enjoyed on a structurally questionable porch overflowing with tipsy undergrads. Mix 'em up by the pitcher if need be - just be sure to use lots of ice and hide the bottles of rum.
The music should be loud and rhythmic - if the old people down the street don't complain, you're doing something wrong. Invite all of your neighbors so you can stop spying on them and actually learn their names. Do not let anyone talk about the upcoming semester. But most importantly, kick off your shoes, put your feet up and soak in the fading light of this fabulous thing we call summer vacation. Viva la mojito!
Share your favorite summer drink concoction with Caroline. E-mail her at \email@example.com."":mailto:firstname.lastname@example.orgSubscribe to The Daily Cardinal Newsletter