When we began to plan this week’s Classic Cocktail recipe, we really started to think… We love a classic Mojito just as much as the next person–but we here at The Woman At The Bar are never content to simply rest with the classics. So, we began to tinker and test, and in the end we came up with a brand new creation that we think is an absolutely delicious alternative to the classic Mojito, AND far superior to all the many fruit-infused Mojitos that are out there.
So, if you dare, come inside and learn all about The Italian Job!
The inspiration for this drink came from two things: first being the abundant amounts of rhubarb we have been seeing at farmers markets over the last few weeks, and second was the delectable combo of strawberries and balsamic vinegar. Sound weird? Worry not, folks, we won’t steer you wrong.
SO! To make The Italian Job you will need:
- 1 oz fresh squeezed lime juice
- 1 oz brown sugar syrup (recipe below)
- Aprox. 4 small strawberries
- Aprox. 1/2 stalk candied rhubarb (recipe below)
- handful of mint leaves
- Aprox. 4 basil leaves
- 2 oz rum (not barrel aged)
- Aprox. 3 oz sparkling water
- Splash of balsamic vinegar
First things first, before you gather all of your ingredients, you need to candy your rhubarb. Don’t worry, this is not nearly as hard as it sounds. All you need to do is chop up a stalk of rhubarb (remove the top and bottom portions first), place the pieces into a bowl, and top it with the juice of 1/2 a lemon and 1 tablespoon of brown sugar. Mix it up, cover it with cellophane and place it in the fridge for at least 15 minutes (it can keep for up to 2 days). That’s it!
Now that your rhubarb is ready to go, gather up all of your remaining ingredients plus your shaker, tall serving glass, bar spoon, and muddler.
Now take aprox. 4 small strawberries, remove the tops, and roughly chop them up. Place them directly into your shaker glass.
Now add in your candied rhubarb. We made enough rhubarb for 2 drinks–1/2 a stalk is slightly more than what you will need for 1 drink. You also want a bit of the juice that has formed as well. Use your best judgment here–the amount of fruit you want in your drink is up to you.
Now add in your handful of mint and about 4 leaves of basil. Why basil? Well, it adds a bit of an Italian twist on the regular Mojito, but it is actually not very far off from the original–basil is actually a member of the mint family, so the flavors work very well together.
Now measure out your 1 oz of lime juice, but reserve 1/2 of the lime rind. Roughly chop the rind and add that into the glass along with the juice.
Next, add in your 1 oz of brown sugar simple syrup.
You make this syrup exactly the same way that you make normal simple syrup. Take a 1:1 ratio of brown sugar to water, combine them in an air-tight container, and shake until the sugar is fully disolved! This gives a slightly stronger and more natural flavor than your typical simple syrup.
Now use your muddler to gently muddle your ingredients together. It is very important not to over-muddle–doing so can cause the mixture to turn bitter. 4-5 depressions is perfect.
Finally, add in your 2 oz of rum. We prefer to use a blended rum for Mojitos (like Wray & Nephew), but you can use any type as long as it is not barrel aged–you want a clear rum for this drink.
Now fill the rest of your shaker glass with ice, pour the contents into your shaker tin, secure the pieces, and shake for about 15 seconds. Then pour the entire contents (including ice) into your serving glass.
Now top off your glass with your sparkling water. We believe it is essential to use sparking water, not club soda or tonic. We make our own using our SodaStream, but you can also purchase bottles at your grocery store, just make sure you are getting plain sparkling water.
Now for the most important step. Pour a small (emphasis on small) splash of balsamic vinegar into the glass. What? Are we crazy? Nope, we are not. You see, balsamic vinegar really serves to pull out the flavor in the strawberries and basil–you will not really taste the vinegar, it just adds depth.
Now give the whole drink a quick stir to combine, add some basil and mint sprigs on top to garnish, and pow! You’ve got yourself one damn good variation on the Mojito!
And there it is: The Italian Job! For when you feel the need to up your Mojito game to the next level!
As always, we’ve got you covered for all occasions here at The Woman At The Bar.
We’ll see you next time!