It’s exciting to see cocktails making a comeback on restaurant menus in my city. There’s something oh-so-sophisticated about starting an evening out, a party or even just a nice meal at home with a carefully prepared drink that doesn’t just get poured out of a can or bottle. Bartenders across Ottawa are really stepping up their game; I’ve had fun talking with a number of them about the joy of cocktails. Mojitos, a traditional Cuban highball, offer a nice blend of sweet and tart flavours; they are a refreshing drink any time of the year, though many associate them with beaches and summertime. You could make the syrup using other fruits, but I do love the pretty pink hue from the raspberries.
1 cup (250 mL) frozen or fresh raspberries
1/4 cup (60 mL) granulated sugar
1/4 cup (60 mL) water
1/2 teaspoon (2.5 mL) lemon juice
handful fresh mint leaves (8 – 10)
1.5 oz amber rum
1 tsp fresh lime juice
2 teaspoons raspberry syrup
1 cup crushed ice
whole mint leaves and fresh raspberries, for garnish
- In a medium saucepan, combine raspberries, sugar, water and juice; bring to a simmer on high heat, stirring frequently.
- Reduce heat to medium and simmer 5 minutes or until raspberries are completely broken down. Strain through a fine meshed sieve, pressing on berries to extract juice.
- Discard seeds and pour syrup into a jar with a tight lid; refrigerate syrup to cool completely.
- The syrup can be stored in the fridge for up to one week and frozen for months.
- Put the mint leaves, lime juice and raspberry syrup into a tall (highball) glass. With a spoon or muddler, mash the leaves against the sides of the glass to bruise them slightly, adding flavour to the drink.
- Add the crushed ice, followed by the rum.
- Fill to within 1/2 inch of the top of the glass with soda water. Stir gently to bring the juices up from the bottom of the glass.
- Garnish with mint and raspberries
Makes one cocktail. Recipe can easily be made pitcher-sized!
Looking for more summertime sipping suggestions? Check out my Smoked Watermelon Margarita recipe.