I don’t drink alcohol, so sometimes I can be pretty clueless when it comes to the world of wines and cocktails. This summer during our trip to Cancun I fell head-over-heels-in-love with virgin mojitos. Ever since our trip I’ve been thinking that I needed to find a recipe so I could make them at home. Then last month I received the extra incentive that I needed to finally get my act together and make mojitos at home. My lovely ZESPRI Kiwifruit friends, Cynthia and Lorraine, that were at Camp Blogaway stayed at the Mondrian Hotel in Los Angeles while in town for the event. The Monday after Camp Blogaway was blistering hot (113 degrees Fahrenheit!) and so Karen and Cynthia hit the bar to try and grab a drink to help them cool off. The hotel was short staffed due to the weather and so the bartender was working extra hard, but took the time to make them a special cocktail with some ZESPRI kiwifruit that they gave him—a muddled kiwi mojito. When Lorraine told me about it I begged her to try and get the recipe, so she contacted the Mondrian via Facebook (because she’s awesome) asking for the recipe, and they kindly provided it (because they’re awesome too). I’ve since modified the recipe to come up with a virgin version, and let me tell you, it is so good. You may be wondering why I’m posting a mojito recipe smack-dab in the middle of Fall. First of all, I could drink this any time of year, but secondly, I’m posting it now to tell you to get your act in gear and go out and buy some kiwi. Green kiwi season goes from May through November, so we only have a little over a month longer to enjoy one of my favorite treats until they are in season again next year!
In coming up with this adaptation, I learned a few things. One of them was “muddling.” I learned that muddling is bruising fruit or mint with sugar at the bottom of a cocktail shaker or glass. This bruising releases juice and essential oils, which heightens the flavor of the drink. Muddling is done with a muddler, a pestle-like object traditionally made of wood. I had to laugh when I read this, because Mr. Fuji and I saw a basket of wooden coffee stirrers labeled as “Woody Muddlers” when we lived in Tokyo. I always wondered how they had chosen that translation, and now I think I have a pretty good guess! I don’t own a true muddler, but I do own a Tart Tamper which I decided would be a perfect substitute.
I crushed, ahem, I mean, muddled some fresh green kiwi, lime wedges, and mint leaves in the bottom of a tall glass.
Next I added some ice and agave syrup,
then filled the rest of the glass with club soda and a splash of ginger ale, then mixed everything with a spoon.
Now that you see how easy this “faux-jito” is to make, you have no excuses. Go make one!
But I’m warning you, you may want to wait until the kids are bed, because I now know from experience that they love virgin muddled kiwi mojitos too, and will steal yours in a heartbeat, leaving you empty-handed. Just sayin’.
Virgin Muddled Kiwi Mojito
Adapted from recipe provided by the Mondrian hotel in Los Angeles
Makes 1 serving
1/4 green kiwi, peeled
1/3 lime, cut into thin wedges
6 large mint leaves
crushed ice (small cubed will work as well)
2 teaspoons agave nectar
splash of ginger ale
1. Put the kiwi, lime slices, and mint leaves in a tall glass and muddle (thoroughly crush with a muddler, pestle, or back of a large spoon).
2. Fill the glass 2/3 of the way with ice.
3. Add the agave nectar and a splash of ginger ale and stir. Then fill the rest of the glass with club soda and stir again. Garnish with a slice of kiwi and some whole mint leaves.