These days, no matter how early I wake up, I can’t seem to reach the material plane and become a functioning human before 2 p.m. I’ve always been prone to a more languorous disposition — most of my productivity is the result of some sporadic fit of manic can-do — but this mysterious uptick in hours during which I am only technically awake is unusual even for me. At least three times this week I have found myself launching into an incredulous disquisition to one friend or another: “Time is actually moving faster, right? Like, this isn’t just I’m-Getting-Older, right? And it’s not like I’m having fun. No one is having fun. So what gives? What-How-Why and oh my god, is this just how it will always be?”
The general consensus among my friends is that yes, Time has put the pedal to the metal, though no one can exactly identify why. (There are theories! But that’s for someone else’s article to explore.) Whether they truly mean it, or are just trying to placate me, I don’t know — but if it is true, then I’ve brought a bicycle to a high-speed car chase, and the futility of trying to keep pace has been growing increasingly clear with each passing day. Finally, two nights ago, I gave up. Somewhere in the crossfade between late afternoon and early evening, I stopped charging forward. I decided to go out on the balcony, drift into distant thoughts, and enjoy the last of these warm summer nights. I decided to make a Mojito.
The beauty of the Mojito lies in its simplicity. In an industry that loves to fussify and novelize, the unadorned Mojito is easy to overlook or relegate to the sidelines as a boring standard. This is, I must say, the wrong take. I love the Mojito because it’s harmonious and elemental: the gravel of the sugar, the cooling air of mint, the sweetwater effect of rum and lime. Served tall and packed with cracked ice, it is a drink for lingering, for reverie, for stargazing. It is the perfect drink when you’re not abiding time.
For those of you who do not suffer the affliction of maladaptive daydreaming, I still urge you to consider the Mojito. Because it’s delicious. But also, it’s more robust than the average cocktail — perfect for packing into a thermos and taking into the park with a blanket and a book. And because its preparation is so straightforward, it’s also not a bad option for when friends are over — a simple mise-en-place will make production a breeze.
Two ways to make a Mojito
Here are two ways to make a Mojito — the first is a bit more rustic and takes less prep, but the addition of lime peel can add a bitterness on the back end of the drink (if you mind that sort of thing). The latter is arguably a more uniform composition, but requires perhaps slightly more effort. To give up on chasing time, you will need:
- ¾ of a lime, cut into wedges
- 2 brown sugar cubes (white is fine too)
- A handful of mint
- 60mL white rum (I personally adore Havana Club 3 Años, but if I’m in the USA, I’ll substitute with Plantation 3-Star. But use whatever white rum you prefer.)
Muddle the lime and sugar cubes in a shaker. You want to avoid overworking the lime peels, but make sure the sugar cubes have been thoroughly crushed. You don’t need to muddle the mint because it’s so delicate; the shaking process is sufficient. Add the mint and rum. Fill the shaker with cracked ice and give it a quick shake — you’re not trying to dilute; you just want the ingredients to be incorporated and the sugar granules to disperse. Pour unstrained into a chilled glass.
To make the more refined exit…
- 30mL fresh lime juice
- 1 brown sugar cube
- ¾ simple syrup
- Handful of mint
- 60mL white rum
Muddle the sugar cubes with the lime juice first, then add the mint, simple syrup, and rum. Fill with cracked ice and give it a quick shake. Pour unstrained into a chilled glass.
With either recipe, if you find your Mojito to be too sour or too sweet, start by adding a bar spoon of simple syrup (if too sour) or a dash of lime juice (if too sweet) until it’s more to your liking. You’ve got the time. Make it perfect.