Monday, October 18, 2010

Tropical October...

The weather was so warm this past week it made me thirsty for tropical drinks. Me - I could do a Mojito or a Mai Tai anytime, even in the dead of winter. I just love the taste of tequila, rum and fruit.

Rick Bayless always comes up with something to put a new twist on an old tradition. Here, Cuban mojitos are made Mexican with tequila instead of rum.

The next drink recipe pairs my favorite Mexican beer, Tecate, with tequila and mint.

Both drinks are a great addition to any Mexican fiesta. For something different, I’m serving both to my neighbors for our Day of the Dead party.

The recipes make Eight 12-ounce cocktails.

Bon Appetit!

Mojito Mexicano

8 large springs of fresh mint

1 ½ cups Simple Syrup

Ice Cubes

2 cups 100% silver tequila

1 ½ cups fresh lime juice

Sparkling water or club soda

Put the leaves stripped off a single sprig of mint into each cocktail glass – you’ll need about 10 leaves for each drink. Put 3 tablespoons of simple syrup in each glass. Use a muddler (or the handle of a wooden spoon) to crush the mint, releasing its flavor into the syrup. Fill each glass with ice. Measure in the tequila – ¼ cup per glass and the lime juice – 3 tablespoons per glass. Mix and top off each glass with a little sparkling water or soda.

Tecate Mojitos

3/4 cup sugar

48 large mint leaves

1/2 cup fresh lime juice

1/2 cup white rum or silver tequila

Four 12-ounce cans of Tecate beers (or other light, citrus-y tasting beer)


In a small saucepan combine the sugar and 3/4 cup water. Bring to a simmer, stirring to dissolve the sugar. Cool.

For each drink, place 6 mint leaves in the bottom of a 10 to 12 ounce glass. Add 2 tablespoons of the sugar syrup plus 1 tablespoon each of the lime juice and rum or tequila. Crush (muddle) the mint into the liquid with a muddler or the back of a spoon or fork to release its flavor. Fill the glass about 3/4 full with ice cubes. Slowly pour in half of one of the beers, stir well with a long-handled spoon and serve right away.

I also tried this recipe for one of my favorites – the Mai Tai. There are good Mai Tais and they are really bad Mai Tais…and few in-between. This one, made from scratch, was one of the best I’ve had outside of Trader Vics.

Mai Tai

1 ounce light rum

1 ounce gold rum

½ ounce orgeat syrup (recipe follows)

½ ounce orange CuraƧao or Cointreau

Juice of 1 lime.

Combine ingredients in a shaker with crushed or cracked ice and shake vigorously. Pour, with shaken ice, into a double old-fashioned glass and garnish with the spent lime shell and a sprig of fresh mint. Some like to float an extra 1/2 ounce of dark rum atop it. Serves 1…just for you!

Homemade Orgeat Syrup

1.1 pounds blanched or toasted blanched almonds

1.5 pounds sugar (1/2 demerara, 1/2 white)

1 tablespoon orange-flower water

2 teaspoons almond extract.

Combine almonds with 11 ounces of water in a blender and blend briefly until uniformly but roughly chopped. Pour into a nonreactive bowl and add one liter of boiling water. Stir well and let stand for three hours. Line a sieve or chinois with overlapping layers of fine cheesecloth, arranging them in an X pattern and leaving a fair amount trailing over to grab hold of. Pour in the mixture and allow it to filter through, assisting with a wooden spoon if necessary. Fold up the ends of the cheesecloth carefully to trap the pulp in a bag and squeeze out the remaining liquid. (This is important, as the pulp retains a fair amount of emulsion.) Discard cheesecloth and pulp. Place emulsion mixture in a pan, add sugar and heat mildly through (140 degrees or less), stirring until sugar is fully dissolved. Remove from heat and allow to cool to room temperature. Add orange-flower water and almond extract and funnel into a clean, capped bottle to refrigerate. Optionally you may add 2 or 3 ounces of vodka to the syrup, as a preservative. Yields about 1.6 liters.

Bon Appetit! Is it Friday yet?