The pot of fresh mint nestled in the landscaping by my front door is inspiring recipes as I walk by: mojitos, minty ice tea or lemonade, yogurt tzatziki, salsas, and a few more mojitos! Recently Rita and I attended a culinary conference in NYC where several workshops were offered on making the perfect cocktail. Time of day has no limits for foodies, so at 9:30am one Sunday I was comfortably sipping cocktails and learning bartender’s tips at the French Culinary Institute. Presented by mixologist Charlotte Voisey, we learned the correct way to use a jigger (hold it close to the mixing glass), the difference between shaken and thrown cocktails which aerates the gin instead of bruising (I didn’t know gin could be bruised!) how to swizzle a drink and make perfect crushed ice (bash it in a tea towel with your muddler).
Back home I’m thinking about my fresh mint and a favorite blackberry mojito. Blackberries aren’t quite in season but I can usually find them in my markets, or you can use frozen berries. And as I learned from Charlotte, always use the best quality liquor you can afford, for smooth flavor and ease on one’s constitution. I’m looking forward to enjoying this cocktail as we slip into summer
And lucky Rita is headed back to NYC soon where she’ll be sampling her Angostura Bitters recipes at the the Manhattan Cocktail Classic. Can’t wait to hear about it!
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Prep time: 3 minutes
Makes 1 serving
12 large mint leaves
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 cup seltzer water
1/4 cup (2 ounces) vodka or rum
Muddle* blackberries, mint leaves, juices and sugar in a tall glass until berries are mostly crushed and mint releases flavor. (If you don’t have a muddler, a wooden spoon or firm silicon spatula works well).
Add seltzer, vodka or rum, and ice to fill glass. Stir well. Garnish with a lime wedge and mint leaves.
*To muddle is a cocktail term meaning to gently crush. Click here to see a muddler. I had to look it up the first time I saw the term!
Recipe created by Rosemary Mark for Driscolls Berries. Photography Noel Barnhurst. Styling George Delose