Part of my stowaway cabin liquor supply consisted of choices other than traditional summer beer. I wanted to put a spin on my favorite cocktail (and the closest I get to a tiki drink): the mojito. I also threw in my favorite cider both for myself and my mom. Finally, I was truly looking forward to enjoying a hoppy saison given to me by one choice Texan.
I have never been able to re-create my favorite mixed drink to the level of that served to me in Freida’s Bar in Antigua, Guatemala. That mojito, overflowing with muddled mint and local sugar cane, will never be replicated, it seems. But I am pretty good at making my second favorite. In order to put a twist on the summery drink, try one of two variations – Joia Lime or jalapeno.
Take Cat Cora’s classic Mojito recipe (makes 4) : 4 tablespoons cane sugar, plus more to rim glass / 4 cups ice / 6 ounces light rum / 10 to 12 mint sprigs / 6 tablespoons fresh lime juice / Club soda / 4 slices lime
Rim the glasses. Place ice in shaker and add the rum. Add half the mint, the lime juice and sugar to the shaker. Muddle the mint with the end of a wooden spoon. Shake well and serve over ice in a funky glass. Top off each glass with a splash of club soda, remaining mint, and garnish with lime slices.
I used the best-quality rum I could find in Northern Minnesota which was dark, but still tasty!
Now try taking a few julienned strips of jalapeno and mince them very finely (and throw in a half-dozen seeds if you like heat). Add while muddling the mint. Enjoy!
Or – sub out the the splash of club soda and half of the lime juice for the Joia Lime, Hibiscus and Clove soda pictured above. Reduce the sugar by about half or to taste. The clove is quite strong, so be sure not to add more than an ounce or two. Yum.
Perfectly paired with a light or substantial lunch is the Schilling Oak Aged Cider. For wine lovers and apple lovers alike, this cider delivers the perfect amount of flavor with refreshing crispness and lack of sweetness that plagues most American cider. The oak notes are just fascinating and so rarely found in cider.
Finally, don’t forget a treat beer while on vacation. Mine was the Prairie Standard, defined as a hoppy farmhouse ale. I was very pleased with this beer, which I admit I should have not waited so long to enjoy due to its hop component. The cloudy appearance alludes to the hazy, farmhouse characteristics and the aroma is very wild, almost barnyard. I did catch a whiff of bug spray, but I fear the environment was interfering.
I have never opened a Prairie bottle and had a mediocre experience, and this was no different. The emerging Motueka hop made its presence known, much more in the taste than the aroma – a fairly unique feature, in my opinion.
While it would play well with vast numbers of flavors, I suggest simply sitting on a porch, a deck, or most preferably, a hammock, and allowing yourself to appreciate this one, or whatever special vacation beer you have been holding out on.