Refreshing Summer Mojitos: Three Ways

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Hey, friends!  I’m sharing a few variations on one of my favorite summertime cocktails: the mojito!  The classic combination of rum, lime, and mint is so refreshing and really hits the spot in the summer months when the sun is hot, but the vibe is chill.  I was inspired to make a few versions of this fun cocktail – traditional mint, citrus-y orange, and cool blueberry – after a trip to my local market, where I scored a gorgeous haul of fresh mint and vibrant, seasonal fruit.

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Here’s what you need to try all three versions: white rum, club soda, fresh mint, limes, oranges, blueberries, and agave nectar or sweetener of choice.  (Full recipes below)

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Each version starts by placing fresh mint leaves and lime wedges in the bottom of a glass (for the orange or blueberry versions, also add orange wedges or blueberries, respectively).  Next, add the desired sweetener – traditionally, white sugar or simple syrup is used, but I love using agave nectar in my cocktails, since it blends so easily and is a healthier alternative to refined sugar.

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Use a cocktail muddler to smash the mint, fruit, and sweetener together, releasing all of the oils and juices.  (If you don’t have a muddler, the end of a wooden spoon works just fine).  Add crushed ice to the glass (side note: am I the only one who always runs out of ice at these crucial junctures?)

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Top off the muddled mixture and ice with the desired amount of rum and club soda; give the contents of the glass a quick stir and add some more fresh mint to garnish – et voila!

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Classic Mint Mojito:

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Ingredients:

6-8 fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish

4 lime wedges (or about half of a lime)

1-2 tsp. agave nectar (or desired sweetener, such as white sugar, or simple syrup)

1/2 cup – 1 cup crushed ice/ice cubes

1 and 1/2 ounces of white rum

1/2 cup club soda

Directions:

Place mint leaves, lime wedges, and sweetener into a tall glass.  Use a muddler to crush the mint and lime, releasing the mint oils and lime juices.  Fill the glass with ice and add the rum.  Top off the rest of the glass with the club soda and stir gently to incorporate.  Taste and add more sweetener as needed.  Garnish with a mint spring and enjoy.

Fresh Orange Mojito:

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Ingredients:

6-8 fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish

3-4 lime wedges (about half of a lime)

2 orange wedges, plus more for garnish

1-2 tsp. agave nectar (or desired sweetener, such as white sugar, or simple syrup)

1/2 cup – 1 cup crushed ice/ice cubes

1 and 1/2 ounces of white rum

1/2 cup club soda

Directions:

Place mint leaves, lime and orange wedges, and sweetener into a tall glass.  Use a muddler to crush the mint and fruit, releasing the oils and juices.  Fill the glass with ice and add the rum.  Top off the rest of the glass with the club soda and stir gently to incorporate.  Taste and add more sweetener as needed.  Garnish with a mint spring and orange wedge.

Cool Blueberry Mojito:

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Ingredients:

6-8 fresh mint leaves, plus more for garnish

3-4 lime wedges (or about half of a lime)

10-15 blueberries, plus more for garnish (about a palm full)

1-2 tsp. agave nectar (or desired sweetener, such as white sugar, or simple syrup)

1/2 cup – 1 cup crushed ice/ice cubes

1 and 1/2 ounces of white rum

1/2 cup club soda

Directions:

Place mint leaves, lime wedges, blueberries, and sweetener into a tall glass.  Use a muddler to crush the mint and fruit, releasing the oils and juices.  Fill the glass with ice and add the rum.  Top off the rest of the glass with the club soda and stir gently to incorporate.  Taste and add more sweetener as needed.  Garnish with a mint spring and a few more whole blueberries.

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As with most drinks, these mojitos turn out the best when you adjust the proportions of the ingredients (sweetener, rum, and club soda) to suit your individual tastes.  I prefer to make mine on the less-sweet side, so the herb-y mint and natural fruit flavors shine, but for those who are not huge mint-lovers, adding more sweetener would help to mellow the flavors.

I hope you have fun trying out these refreshing mojitos!  Keep cool & summer on!

xo Megan

“Chai Love You” Hot Toddy

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During the colder months, there are few things I find as comforting as a hot drink.  With Valentine’s Day just around the corner, what better way is there to keep the cold at bay than with a soothing, soul-warming hot toddy?

I found these adorable mugs at Target for $2.99 each - talk about a deal to love!

I found these adorable mugs at Target for $2.99 each – talk about a deal to love!

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This winter cocktail is one of my favorites, and I love that there are so many variations on the classic that can be made with whatever ingredients you happen to have on hand.  To me, this is the best kind of cocktail – one you can just throw together without pulling out a recipe or making a special trip to the store.  IMG_1174

I’ve seen countless variations on the hot toddy, but they usually feature a hot liquid base (water, tea, cider), your liquor of choice (usually whiskey, bourbon, or rum), a sweetener (sugar, honey, agave), and a combination of spices or garnishes (lemon, clove, cinnamon,  anise, or ginger).  I tend to make mine with tea, bourbon, and honey, but in honor of Valentine’s Day, I thought I would whip up something a little more special.

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I thought chai tea would make the perfect base for a swoon-worthy cocktail.  Chai tea is sweet, spicy, and citrusy – all of the elements of a good hot toddy.  I used a combination of chai oolong, which has strong, spicy notes, and chai mate, which has sweeter, more fragrant notes to help balance out the boldness of the oolong.  You can really use any tea you like, so feel free to experiment until you find a combination you love.

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For this cocktail, I wanted to try something a bit softer and more romantic than the usual bourbon, so I went with Disaronno, an Italian amaretto liqueur.  The sweet, citrusy notes of the Disaronno paired perfectly with the spicy chai tea and added a more subtle warmth of alcohol than the stronger alternatives.

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20140209_115400To finish the cocktail, I added a spoonful of honey for a touch of sweetness.  The combination of warm spicy tea and soothing honey makes this the perfect cocktail to warm your heart whether you’re enjoying a romantic night in with the one you love or simply cuddling up on the couch with a good book or watching your favorite RomCom.  Enjoy! xoxo Meg

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“Chai Love You” Hot Toddy

Ingredients:

  • 2 to 2 and 1/2 teaspoons loose chai tea (alternatively, you can use two chai teabags or whatever style tea you have on hand.  You may need to adjust the amount of tea and brew time depending on the variety of tea you use and the desired strength.)
  • 2 cups hot water
  • 2 ounces (one small shot glass full) of Disaronno liqueur (would also be great with bourbon or honey whiskey)
  • 1 teaspoon of honey (adjust for desired sweetness)

Heat water to just below the boiling point.  When the water is ready, steep the tea for 3 minutes (or less if you prefer a lighter tea).  I used loose tea, so I steeped it right in the measuring cup and used a small strainer to filter out the leaves when I poured the tea into my mug.  You can also brew the tea right in your mug using a tea diffuser or simply use tea bags – whatever method you prefer.  Once the tea is brewed, simply add the liqueur and desired amount of honey and stir until the honey is dissolved.

Serves 2 if using small teacups or 1 large mug.  Enjoy responsibly!