Traditionally the mojito consisted of five ingredients including sparkling water, rum, sugar, lime and mint. This Cuban drink has come along way since its birth, and is now offered in many restaurants. Though many flavors have been experimented with along the way, tart hints of citrus have remained the key ingredient. I tried a (virgin) mojito at a local restaurant a few months ago and was so delighted that I had to recreate my own. My version contains quite a bit less sugar than most, but I found that it still tastes just as refreshing!
Limes are not seasonal, but I find that they are best enjoyed during the spring and summer months! Although these little beauties house many health benefits, limes are usually only thought of as a garnish. In addition to their vitamin C content, limes contain limonins. Not only do limonins help prevent cancer cells from forming, but they also aid in the digestion and breaking down of sugar/glucose molecules. Limes also contain many antibiotic effects, which in turn help build a strong immune system.
Classic Virgin Mojitos
about 1 liter good quality sparking water (such as san pellegrino)
1/3 cup raw honey or agave
6 - 8 large limes (for juice)
3 large limes, sliced
about 1 cup loosely packed mint leaves, bruised and chopped + some whole for garnish*
1 pinch sea salt
about 2 cups ice cubes
Boil about 1/3 cup filtered water in a pot. Remove the pot from the heat and add in the raw honey and salt then stir to dissolve. Afterwards, place this in the refrigerator for about 10-20 minutes to cool.
Once your honey mixture has cooled, add in the chopped mint leaves and lightly mash to combine. Now, pour your sparkling water into a large serving pitcher and gently stir in the lime juice (squeezing out some of the lime pulp as well) and honey mixture. To finish it off add in a few whole mint leaves, ice cubes and lime slices.
To serve, pour the desired amount into glasses and garnish with fresh mint leaves, a sprinkle of salt and lime slices. Serve immediately. Enjoy!
*Bruising the mint leaves really allows their flavors to blend easily. I like to use the back of a spoon to lightly press the leaves before chopping.