Before we bought our house, we lived in apartment after apartment with little time or space to grow an herb garden. Every year, I bought a little potted basil plant from Trader Joe’s. Every year, I’d kill the darn thing. Now, we have a spread of herbs growing on a raised bed. It feels luxurious to be able to walk outside, pick a fresh lemon off our tree, and clip off a fistful of fresh herbs to cook with.
This past weekend, it hit 90 degrees here in LA. Warm weather practically screams mojito and lawn chair time to us. To make mojitos, you need need mint. Lots and lots of mint. (Especially if you down mojitos like we do.) I tip toed barefoot out to the herb planter and was surprised to see our mint plant growing like a champ!
I know many of you are swimming in snow, but winter also means we’re in citrus season, so this would still be a good time to try this out! Just crank up the heat a bit, throw on some flip flops, and you’ll be in mojito land in no time.
Mint is one of the easiest herbs to grow, so that’s probably the main reason mine is still alive. However, it’s also invasive. Before you know it, you can have a mint forest on your hands. Oh darn, I guess you’ll have to make more mojitos then…
It turns out this week, my grocery store also has a bumper crop of blackberries on sale. So really, I had no choice.
- 12 large blackberries
- 12 large mint leaves
- 4 tsp sugar
- 1 T fresh lime juice
- 1 T fresh lemon juice
- 1/4 cup decent light rum, i.e. Bacardi Superior
- 1/2 cup COLD club soda
- lots of ice cubes
Fill your serving glass with ice water and stash it in the fridge to chill. (I know you want to, but don’t be lazy and skip this. It keeps the drink cold, which makes the drink taste smooth for longer.)
In a cocktail shaker (we used an inexpensive stainless steel Boston shaker), combine the blackberries, mint leaves, sugar, lime juice, lemon juice, and rum.
Using a muddler, muddle the mixture for about 10 seconds to bring out the mint flavor and crush the blackberries. You’re aiming to bruise the mint leaves, not shred it. (Shredding the mint will release bitter chlorophyll and discolor the drink.)
I recommend using a wooden, unlacquered muddler with a smooth end. The lacquer usually starts to wear off after a few uses, which means it’s ending up in your drink. That’s not good eats. The smooth end means you’re crushing the mint and not shredding it.
Fill the mixing glass (the smaller cup) roughly two thirds full of ice cubes. Place the shaker tin (the larger cup) over the top and give it a good thump with your palm to seal tightly. You should be able to pick up the whole shaker by the top.
Shake vigorously for 15 seconds (slightly less if you’re using small ice cubes). This seems like a long time, but doing so will make sure the drink mixture is ice cold, which makes this drink extra smooth, and fully mixed.
Set the shaker down, shaker tin up, and hit the end of the tin with your palm to pop the shaker tin off.
Dump the ice water out of your serving glass and refill with fresh ice.
Set a cocktail strainer on top of the mixing glass and pour the cocktail into your serving glass. Top with cold club soda, fresh mint, and blackberries for garnish.
Adapted from Driscoll’s