I love mojitos. A bubbly concoction of rum, mint and lime, they're especially refreshing. The mojito (moe-hee-toe) is my favorite summer cocktail, and it pairs beautifully with my porch rocking chair and a nice summer breeze (did I just say that? Wow, I'm getting old!).
However, there are a couple inherent problems with my favorite drink. The first problem is that on the rare occasion that Keith and I go out for drinks, I'm usually looking at a 50/50 shot at getting a mojito, since a lot of restaurants don't stock fresh mint. The second problem is that once the bartender tops the rum with sugar or "simple syrup" (simply sugar and water!), this refreshing Cuban drink can pack a caloric punch to the tune of 200+ calories -- each!
Lucky for me, the only thing I've managed to grow successfully in my summer garden is spearmint. It's popping up everywhere, including outside the garden. I don't think I could kill it if I tried...which is good, because as it turns out, I don't have much of a green thumb. I did manage to harvest a few lovely tomatoes before the plant mysteriously wilted and my basil is doing ok. So really, my summer is pretty much complete with the endless makings for mojitos to serve with caprese salad. Yum!
OK, so now to tackle the second problem. A mojito, at its most basic, is white rum and lime juice muddled with mint leaves and sugar, then topped off with crushed ice and club soda. Once you add up 1 to 2 ounces of rum and throw in the sugar, each drink comes in around 160-200 calories -- or more (some places will top it with sugary Sprite or something in lieu of club soda or sparkling water).
My solution? The "faux"jito! Faux (pronounced "foe") is the French word for fake or false. If you're a purist in your beverage mixology, I suggest you stop reading now!
My "faux"jito comes in around 69 calories (just about what's in an ounce of rum, really). It's light enough to be diet friendly, and since it doesn't go overboard on the rum, I can have more than one and enjoy my company without tipping over (as I said, we don't get out much). I should also note that I rarely include ingredients in my recipes that contain artificial sweeteners, but it's necessary in this case. If you come up with an equally light alternative, please let me know! A classic mojito is typically served in a high ball glass, but I was feeling festive.
Lastly, I hope that you enjoy your summer, your family and your friends, but please drink responsibly. Enjoy!
Diet lemon-lime soda (such as Sprite Zero, Diet Sierra Mist or Diet 7-Up)
Sugar (just for the rim of the glass!)
Muddle a few (3 or 4) mint leaves with 1 ounce white rum and the juice from 1 lime wedge (1/8th of the lime). Muddling is done by lightly crushing the mint (just until the leaves bruise) using a mortar and pestle, a muddler, or whatever you have on hand (a small wooden spoon would work just fine). Just don't shred the mint! Run the squeezed lime wedge around the rim of the glass, then dip the top of the glass in a shallow plate of granulated sugar to coat the rim. Pour the muddled mixture into your glass, fill with crushed ice, and top off with the diet soda. Cheers!
The Svelte Gourmet: A Month of Main Courses cookbook is available at www.thesveltegourmet.com/products.html. Thanks for reading!