Summer is the time for light, refreshing cocktails. The classic mojito, a Cuban cocktail made with rum and mint, is a summertime favorite. But you know what else summer is the time for? Basil! As in delicious insalata caprese.
My two favorite things about summer are caprese and fresh corn on the cob. But when you buy basil at the grocery store, you have to buy A LOT of basil. One can only use so much for caprese salad.
Enter: the Basil Mojito. All the refreshment of a mojito with the added advantage of using more of that basil you have on hand. This recipe is from Sunset magazine. (By the way, I highly recommend you subscribe to Sunset if you live in the Western United States. If you don’t live in the Western U.S., you should avoid Sunset because it will just make you jealous of all the amazing things you can’t do.)
About 10 large basil leaves, divided
1/4 cup plus 4 teaspoons superfine sugar, divided
1/4 cup lime juice
1/2 cup white rum
About 1/2 cup cold club soda
1. Whirl 2 basil leaves and 1/4 cup sugar in a food processor until well blended; transfer to a plate and set aside.
2. Put 6 to 8 remaining basil leaves in a large cocktail shaker with a few ice cubes, the remaining 4 teaspoons sugar, and lime juice. Muddle the mixture with the back of a thick wooden spoon, keeping your hand over the top to prevent spilling, until the basil has broken up.
3. Add rum and a few more ice cubes to shaker, cover, and shake to blend. Rub a lime wedge along the rim of 2 lowball glasses and dip in basil sugar (reserve remaining basil sugar for more cocktails). Add a few ice cubes to each glass. Remove top from shaker (do not strain), and divide mixture between glasses. Top off each with club soda and stir. Garnish with a lime wedge.
We* do not bother blending the basil and sugar in a food processor. We use our mezzaluna to finely chop the basil, then just stir it together with the sugar. We also use a wooden muddler instead of a wooden spoon, but not everyone has a muddler. We’ve been making our Basil Mojitos with Shellback Silver Rum, which is quite tasty. And we often use seltzer water instead of club soda, depending on what we have around. (Here’s a nice little slideshow from HuffPo explaining the difference between club soda, seltzer, and tonic.)
*By “we” of course I mean “my husband,” master mixologist and man who likes to keep his wife happy by making whatever cocktail she requests.