Summer Cocktails: Mint Julep and Mojito

With the weather warming up and summer right behind the corner, cold cocktails with fresh mint leaves are the perfect choice for hot summer days or warm evenings. Two of the most popular cocktails that use fresh mint leaves are the mint julep and mojito. Both drinks use mint leaves to provide a unique and refreshing flavor. Mint juleps are typically a cocktail associated with southern states, specifically Kentucky. The mojito on the other hand is a traditional Cuban cocktail.

Mint juleps have a long history with the southern states dating back to the eighteenth century. More recently, the mint julep has become associated with horse racing and is the official drink of the Churchill Downs and Kentucky Derby. And with the Kentucky Oaks & Derby coming up (May 3 and 4), here’s the traditional mint julep recipe so you can make your own and watch the races:

  • 3 ounces Bourbon whiskey
  • 1 ounce simple syrup (or granulated sugar, to taste)
  • 4-6 sprigs mint leaves

Put the mint leaves, simple syrup or sugar, and a small amount of bourbon into a glass and muddle the mint leaves to release the mint’s essential oil and flavor. Add crushed ice and the rest of the bourbon. Mix everything together and garnish with a mint sprig. It is traditionally served in a silver julep cup or more commonly a tall glass.

Mint Julep

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The mojito has a rich history Cuba and was one of Ernest Hemingway’s favorite drinks. The mojito, or at least a similar drink, is believed to have been first concocted by members of Francis Drake’s crew as a remedy for scurvy. While most of us don’t have to worry about staving off scurvy nowadays, the mojito is a great drink to help cool off on hot summer days. The traditional mojito recipe is:

  • 2 ounces white rum
  • ¾ ounce fresh lime juice OR ½ lime cut into 4 wedges
  • 1 ounce simple syrup OR 2 teaspoons sugar
  • ½ ounce chilled club soda
  • 8 mint leaves

Muddle mint leaves, sugar or simple syrup, and lime juice or 3 of the lime wedges. Add ice, rum, and club soda, and then stir. Garnish with mint sprig and/or a lime wedge.

Mojito.jpg

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Both of these drinks are a great choice to cool off on a hot summer day, the mint julep with more of a classic American taste and the mojito with a nice tropical flavor. Try both of these refreshing drinks and decide which one you like better. Leave me a comment and let me know which drink you prefer to cool off with. Cheers!

Tropical cocktails: Margaritas and Daiquiris

Daiquiris and margaritas are classic tropical cocktails. Both cocktails have a similar taste and they both have Latin American roots. The daiquiri originated in Cuba and the margarita came from Mexico. Both have a similar citrusy taste to them. The main difference between the two is that daiquiris use rum and margaritas use tequila. Both drinks can be served either on the rocks or blended with ice but the traditional way to serve both cocktails is on the rocks.

 

The original recipe for a daiquiri is:

2 1/2 ounces white rum

1 1/2 ounces fresh lime juice

4 teaspoons superfine sugar

Ice

1 lime wheel, for garnish

 

In a cocktail shaker, add rum, lime juice and sugar. Add the ice and shake until chilled, then strain into a chilled cocktail glass, garnish with the lime wheel and serve.

Daiquiri drink.jpg

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A margarita is made with similar ingredients but uses tequila in place of rum and uses Cointreau or triple sec instead of sugar. The traditional recipe for a margarita is:

1 1/2 ounces blanco tequila

1 ounce Cointreau or triple sec

3/4 ounce fresh lime juice

Ice

 

Fill a cocktail shaker with ice. Add the tequila, Cointreau and fresh lime juice and shake well. Strain the drink into a chilled glass.

MargaritaReal.jpg

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Both of these drinks can be made with variations and use other ingredients to give them other fruit flavors but these are the traditional recipes. Now that you know how easy it is to make daiquiris and margaritas, make them and compare to see which one you like better. Cheers!