LIVING LARGE WITH MOJITOS

Why are rums shooting up the charts? In addition to their “fun in the sun” image, their approachable taste profile means that there’s no learning curve necessary to enjoy them. But the shared attributes that puts rum on the map is its mixability. It can be used in the preparation of almost any cocktail. When it comes to drink making, premium rums have a taste and aroma that lifts them head and shoulders above any of the other light liquors.

Rum is among the most dynamic and diverse spirits in the world. It’s made in exotic places, graced with brilliant hues, captivating aromas and rich engaging flavors. Part of rum’s immense popularity lies in its diversity. Rums are produced in a broad range of styles, from clear, dry and light-bodied to dark, full-bodied and full-flavored.

An unfortunate misconception about rum is that it’s sweet and therefore not in keeping with contemporary tastes. It’s true that rum is distilled from sugar cane juice or molasses, but that doesn’t mean they are inherently sweet. Quite to the contrary, rums are light bodied and characteristically dry.

So whether it’s their diversity, allure or enormous mixability, rums are winning flavor with mixologists and their guests. Here then is your road map to the classic heat busting cocktails of the sub-tropics—the Mojio. —RP


THE MOJITO AT A GLANCE

• DIFFICULTY OF PREPARATION: 5.2 OUT OF 10 — While Mojitos aren’t necessarily fast drinks to prepare, they’re not difficult either. These marvelous cocktails are made using a preparation technique called muddling. It involves using what amounts to a wooden pestle to gently mash ingredients—in this case mint leaves and lime wedges—to express their juice and essential oils. Ingredients are muddled directly in the glass in which they’re served or in an empty mixing glass in anticipation of the drink being handshaken.

[Scale 1– 10: A drink with a value of 5.0 or lower means it’s quickly and easily prepared, while one with a value closer to 10 indicates that several days and an advanced engineering degree are required.]


• UP-SELLING POTENTIAL: 9.7 OUT OF 10 — Consumers are increasingly aware of the fact that the better the rum used in a Mojito the better it will taste. There are many different types of rums, each of which will result in a slightly different tasting drink. This versatility and the ability to showcase the rum used make Mojitos highly profitable cocktails to promote.

[Scale 1– 10: A drink with an up-selling potential of 5.0 or higher means it’s a financial thoroughbred, a cocktail tailor-made for top-shelf spirits. A cocktail rating below 5 signifies a drink in which the brand of spirits used are of secondary importance compared to the overall effect looking to be achieved.]


• ALCOHOL POTENCY — Mojitos are invariably served with ice, which as it melts renders the drink less potent. Even so most Mojitos are a relatively potent 1 part alcohol to 1 part mix (1:1).

[As a general rule, 1 1/4-ounces of distilled spirits is equal in alcohol to 4-ounces of wine and 10-ounces of beer.]


• PORTIONING CONSIDERATIONS — Most Mojitos are prepared using 2- to 2 1/2-ounce portions of rum. When devising a specialty Mojito, be conservative with the amount of rum initially used. Making the drink stronger then involves no more than a minor flick of the wrist.


• SEASONAL ORIENTATION AND TRADE PERIOD — The Mojito and its sub-tropical compadres were born and raised in the summer sun. The warmer the weather, the better they like it. So unless you’re having a July 4th promotion in the middle of December, consider these refreshing cocktails sun worshippers on temporary visas.

As for trade periods, the Mojito is in its element whenever the sun’s over the yardarm, as they say, which loosely translates to anytime between brunch through the onset of the cocktail hour. The shank of the day is when the drink is at its delightful best.


• GLASSWARE OPTIONS — Mojitos are typically served in double Old Fashioned glasses or glassware designed specifically for drinks served on the rocks. The glass you choose should be have minimum capacity of 12-14 ounces, although slightly larger glasses offer more latitude when it comes to garnishing and adding a few creative twists.

• ALCOHOL-FREE OPTIONS: 5.4 OUT OF 10 — An enticing alcohol-free Mojito is only moments away with a bottle of FINEST CALL MOJITO MIX on-hand. The mix is delicious blended with ice cream, fruit purees or various types of tropical juices. It also pairs well with flavored syrups and many of the other prominent drink mixes in the Finest Call portfolio.


CREATING MARGARITA MAGIC

• FINEST CALL MOJITO MIX — Our vibrant, highly popular Mojito mix features a skillful blend of lime juice, fresh mint and a touch of sweetness. It has an authentic appearance of freshly squeezed lime juice with lively notes of muddled mint leaves. The mix is delightful in a wide range of Mojitos, as well as numerous other Latin-oriented cocktails.

The following recipes are field-tested delicious and showcase the creative talents of Finest Call Premium Mojito Mix.

Mojito

Blackberry Mojito

Bluegrass Mojito

Cello Mojito

Mucho Mango Mojito

Passion Fruit Mojito

Pomegranate Mojito

Raspberry Añejo Mojito

Raspberry Orange Mojito

Strawberry Apple Mojito


• FINEST CALL FRUIT PUREES — Our purees deliver a concentrated blast of fresh fruit flavor and help create cocktails with vitality and sun-drenched exuberance. Having done nature one better, Finest Call shelf-stable fruit purees allow you to fully deliver on the promise of fresh without the attendant hassles. Our unbeatable range of purees includes Raspberry, Strawberry, Banana, Mango, Peach and Passion Fruit.

Mucho Mango Mojito (Finest Call Mango Puree)

Passion Fruit Mojito (Finest Call Passion Fruit Puree)

Raspberry Añejo Mojito (Finest Call Raspberry Puree)

Raspberry Orange Mojito (Finest Call Raspberry Puree)

Strawberry Apple Mojito (Finest Call Strawberry Puree)


• FINEST CALL FLAVORED SYRUPS — Sometimes a splash or two of flavor is all that’s necessary to propel a drink into the extraordinary range. To that end, we’ve created a line of flavored syrups developed specifically for use in cocktails, including the BLACKBERRY MOJITO (Huckleberry Syrup) and POMEGRANATE MOJITO (Pomegranate Syrup).


• FINEST CALL DRINK MIXES — A franchise player in the cocktail culture, Finest Call Lime Sour Mix is a zesty mix with brilliant citrusy notes and the sublime taste of fresh lime juice. Its puckery tartness lends the perfect touch to the STRAWBERRY APPLE MOJITO.

The Finest Call Sweet & Sour Mix is an all-natural blend of lemon, orange and lime extracts. Sweeteners are added to throttle back some of the citrus exuberance, resulting in a delectably flavorful drink mix. Our Olympic-class Sweet & Sour is made with premium lemons and oranges with prominent orange notes on the finish. It’s perfectly featured in two Mojitos, the BLUEGRASS MOJITO and RASPBERRY ORANGE MOJITO.


• FINEST CALL TRIPLE SEC AND BLUE CURAÇAO — Triple Sec’s role in a drink is to add body, a touch of sweetness and an orange aroma and flavor. Finest Call Triple Sec accomplishes that and more. Additional benefits are it contains no alcohol and carries a small price tag.

• Finest Call Blue Curaçao tastes and smells almost identical to the Triple Sec. Both have delightful, semi-sweet orange characters. Yet the Curaçao brings something singularly compelling to the table that Triple Sec can’t muster—color.

If you’re looking for a little inspiration on how to create some Mojito magic, consider the following recipes.

Bluegrass Mojito (Finest Call Blue Curacao)

Raspberry Orange Mojito (Finest Call Triple Sec)


FINEST CALL FRESH

One of the great things about a Mojito is watching it being prepared. But beyond its theatrical appeal, the muddling process is essential to achieving the cocktail’s depth of flavor. It’s likely the Mojito’s true character can’t be reproduced in any other manner.

The secret lies in the muddling action involving the mint leaves and pieces of lime. The objective is two-fold. First you’re looking to gently crush the mint leaves with the flat of the muddler such that the essential oils are released, but the leaves remain somewhat intact. A mangled heap of leaves in a glass is not appealing. The mint leaves should be removed from the sprig before being placed in the glass. The stems are too bitter for the drink.

The object when muddling lime wedges is to express the fresh juice while not overly bruising the fruit’s bitter white pith. Some of that bitterness is actually a welcomed thing, but too much and the drink will be adversely affected.

Without the muddled fresh mint, the Mojito fails to live up to its advanced billing. The mint is present in nearly every aspect of the cocktail. The predominant variety of mint selected for use in Mojitos is spearmint (Mentha spicata), although some prefer peppermint (Mentha piperita), pineapple mint (Mentha suaveolens) and the yerba buena variety from Central and South America.


THE CAIPIRINHA, CAIPIROSHKA AND CAIPIRISSMA

The Mojito bears striking family resemblance to several traditional Brazilian concoctions, the best known of which is the CAIPIRINHA (pronounced “kuy-per-REEN-yah”). It is a marvelous drink served in a bucket or tumbler that’s made with simple syrup and a quartered lime, both of which are strenuously muddled. The driving force behind this cocktail is cachaça, a clear Brazilian spirit produced from sugar cane. Use between 2 and 3 ounces of cachaça, add ice and garnish with a fresh lime wedge.

Two other Brazilian-borne cocktails are the CAIPIRISSMA and CAIPIROSHKA. The Caipirissma is prepared in the same manner as the Caipirinha, only light rum is substituted for the cachaça, while the Caipiroshka showcases the services of vodka instead of cachaça. All three South American cocktails are delicious and distinctive. They differ from the Cuban Mojito in the type of spirits used and equally important, none are prepared with muddled mint leaves.


MOJITOS — TIPS FOR PROS

The elegant and eminently refreshing Mojito is something of a cross between a Mint Julep and an Old Fashioned. It’s made in a double Old Fashioned, bucket or specialty rocks glass. Place simple syrup, pieces of fresh lime and a generous portion of mint leaves in the glass. Then gently muddle the ingredients together, thereby expressing the lime juice and the essential oils from the mint leaves. Add ice, 2- to 2 1/2-ounces of light rum and a splash of club soda for effervescence.  The final touch is a sprig of fresh mint.

The Mojito is a proven crowd-pleaser and an absolute must for every mixologist to perfect. So perhaps it’s time to take your guests one a trip south of the Equator. Salud!


• SPIRIT OPTIONS — The traditional spirit base in a Mojito is light rum and again the better the rum, the better the Mojito. The good news is that there are certainly a great many brands of premium light rum from which to choose. In the pursuit to make a world-class Mojito, strongly consider experimenting with the famed rhum agricoles, such as Rhum Clément from Martinique or Rhum Barbancourt from Haiti. Their vibrant, flavor-imbued characters are incomparable when featured in Mojitos. Dark rums are also marvelous in the drink. They add color and waves of dry, often spicy flavors.

Yet, if working with different flavors is high on your list, then showcasing a flavored rum or vodka in the drink is just the ticket. Between the two categories, there’s a stellar brand representative of every popular flavor. Imagine the possibilities. You might decide to muddle together Cruzan Raspberry Rum with a handful of fresh raspberries, mint leaves, limes and sugar, or Stoli Blueberi Vodka and a tablespoon of blueberries. Then again you could muddle together a mango-flavored rum with muddled papaya, limes, mint and sugar. Using the spirit as either a flavor enhancer or as a counterpoint is part of the artistry.

The Mojito is a superb delivery system for most light spirits. Silver tequila is great choice. Its exuberant character works well with the muddled mint and sweetened lime juice in a Mojito.


• GROOVY MODIFIERS — As alluded to above, fruit, syrups and juice are often relied upon as modifiers in Mojitos. A partial list of modifier choices includes pomegranates, mango puree or nectar, passion fruit, pineapples, grapefruit or kiwi slices, blood oranges, kumquats, blackberries and prickly pear juice.

Whatever you can’t find at the produce market might be available on your back bar. Liqueurs such as PAMA, Malibu, Chambord, ZEN, Rhum Clément Creole Shrub and Grand Marnier were seemingly created with a flavor-starved Mojito in mind.


• THE SIMPLE DIFFERENCE — Regarding which type of sweetener to use in a Mojito, granulated white sugar is a frequent choice, but to be most effective the sugar must be thoroughly dissolved. Simple syrup is particularly advantageous for that reason. Creative options include sweetening the drink with guarapo (fresh sugar cane juice), brown, raw, or powdered sugar.


• FINISHING SCHOOL — The final ingredient in the Mojito is a healthy splash of soda water, which adds a welcomed blast of effervescence. But even here you have creative latitude. There’s no reason to limit yourself to using plain carbonated water when the world’s finest sparkling spring waters are available for service. Then again, why not consider charging a Mojito with champagne or ginger beer? They’ll add flavor as well as effervescence.


• EXIT STRATEGIES — The classic garnishes on the Mojito are mint sprigs and either a lime wheel or wedge. The wedge should be used if you want to provide your guests with an opportunity to squeeze more juice into the drink. If not, the less functional, but more attractive lime wheel might be a better choice.

Many restaurants are adding a segment of sugar cane to their Mojitos. It looks great and performs admirably as a swizzle.


FINEST CALL MOJITOS RECIPE

MOJITO

Bucket glass, ice

Build in glass

2 1/2 oz. Light Rum

1 1/2 oz. Finest Call Mojito Mix

2-3 splashes club soda

Garnish with a lime wedge


FINEST CALL SIGNATURE MOJITOS

BLACKBERRY MOJITO

Bucket glass, ice

Build in glass

2 1/2 oz. Currant Flavored Vodka (Absolut Currant)

1 1/2 oz. Finest Call Mojito Mix

3/4 oz. Finest Call Huckleberry Syrup

2-3 splashes club soda

Garnish with a lime wedge


BLUEGRASS MOJITO

House specialty glass, ice

Pour ingredients into an iced mixing glass

2 oz. Bourbon

3/4 oz. Finest Call Blue Curacao

1/2 oz. Finest Call Lime Juice

1 oz. Finest Call Sweet & Sour

1 1/2 oz. Finest Call Mojito Mix

Shake and strain

Garnish with an orange slice


CELLO MOJITO

Bucket glass, ice

Build in glass

1 1/2 oz. Citrus Flavored Rum

1 oz. Limoncello

1 1/2 oz. Finest Call Mojito Mix

2-3 splashes club soda

Garnish with a lime wedge


MUCHO MANGO MOJITO

House specialty glass, chilled

Build in glass

3-4 mint leaves

1-2 lime wedges

1 oz. Finest Call Mojito Mix

Muddle contents and add ice

2 1/2 oz. Mango Flavored Rum

1 oz. Finest Call Mango Puree

2-3 splashes club soda

Stir thoroughly

Garnish with a lime wedge and mango slice


PASSION FRUIT MOJITO

Bucket glass, ice

Build in glass

2 1/2 oz. Light Rum

1 oz. Finest Call Passion Fruit Puree

1 ½ oz. Finest Call Mojito Mix

Garnish with a lime wedge


POMEGRANATE MOJITO

Bucket glass, ice

Build in glass

2 oz. Light Rum

1 oz. Finest Call Pomegranate Syrup

1 1/2 oz. Finest Call Mojito Mix

2-3 splashes club soda

Garnish with a lime wedge


RASPBERRY AÑEJO MOJITO

Bucket glass, ice

Build in glass

2 1/2oz. Añejo Rum

1 oz. Finest Call Raspberry Puree

1 1//2 oz. Finest Call Mojito Mix

2-3 splashes club soda

Garnish with a lime wedge


RASPBERRY ORANGE MOJITO

House specialty glass, ice

Build in glass

1 1/2 oz. Citrus Rum

3/4 oz. Finest Call Triple Sec

3/4 oz. Finest Call Raspberry Puree

1 oz. Finest Call Sweet & Sour

1 oz. Finest Call Mojito Mix

Stir thoroughly

2-3 splashes club soda

Garnish with a lime wedge


STRAWBERRY APPLE MOJITO

Collins glass, ice

Build in glass

2 oz. Apple Flavored Vodka

1 oz. Finest Call Strawberry Puree

1 oz. Finest Call Lime Sour Mix

1 oz. Finest Call Mojito Mix

Top with club soda

Garnish with a strawberry slice and lime wedge

Difficulty of
Preparation

Upselling
Potential

Alcohol-Free
Options