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Mixology: Mojitos

The cranberry mojito is offered in Westwood at Palomino Restaurant & Bar.

Orange Mojito (alcoholic version)

  • The juice of ½ lime
  • Orange wedges
  • Regular white rum
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 5 sprigs of mint
  • Ice
  • Sparkling or tonic water (7UP or Sierra Mist work as well)
Begin with a chilled glass. Place mint leaves and orange wedges inside, and add sugar on top. Use a muddler (or a spoon) to crush the leaves. Then, fill the glass with ice, and add rum and lime juice. Fill to the rim with sparkling water and stir. Garnish with mint leaves and a slice of lime, and sip through a straw.

Orange mojito (non-alcoholic version)

  • The juice of ½ lime
  • Orange wedges
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 5 sprigs of mint
  • Ice
  • Sparkling or tonic water (7UP or Sierra Mist work just fine)
Begin with a chilled glass. Place mint leaves and orange wedges inside, and add sugar on top. Use a muddler (or a spoon) to crush the leaves. Then, fill the glass with ice and add lime juice. Fill to the rim with sparkling water and stir. Garnish with mint leaves and a slice of lime, and sip through a straw.

By Ashley Jakubczyk

Jan. 22, 2014 12:08 a.m.

Each week, columnist Ashley Jakubczyk will talk about a new mixed drink, where to get it in Westwood and how you can concoct your own version at home.

– – –

There’s a phrase I’ve been hearing around campus a lot lately: “Winter? What’s that?”

True, we here at UCLA seem to be experiencing an endless summer, as we’ve been graced with 80-degree beach weather in the midst of January. So when I ventured out to happy hour this week, it only seemed appropriate to find a refreshing drink to complement the perpetual heat.

Enter the mojito, a white rum-based drink that is known to be light, sweet and thirst-quenching. A mojito is made with five main ingredients: white rum, sugar, lime juice, sparkling water and mint. Despite its low alcohol content, the perfect balance of sweetness to the strong kick of rum has made this drink a favorite of many (including author Ernest Hemingway).

Originating from the tropics of Cuba, the mojito has an intriguing history. Back in the swashbuckling, pirate-infested 16th century, a similar drink called “El Draque” was thought to be a remedy for various tropical illnesses and thought to stave off scurvy.

Though you may not have to worry about fighting a battle with scurvy, you can still treat yourself to this delicious cocktail right here in Westwood. Palomino Restaurant & Bar, located adjacent to the Hammer Museum, has a fantastic cranberry mojito. Cranberries, which are usually considered an autumn fruit, give a winter twist to this summer drink, and also create the perfect note of tartness to balance this otherwise sweet cocktail while still keeping its summer integrity. Palomino also has raspberry, mango and passion fruit variations of the drink.

When dealing with mojitos, the type of rum you choose to use determines the drink. Bacardi makes a great standard rum to use with any recipe, while Malibu has creative flavors like coconut and passion fruit that can dramatically change the flavor of a mojito.

The recipe is like a traditional Cuban mojito, only with a couple of modern twists.

Originally, the drink was made using yerba buena, but a typical sprig of mint, found at any grocery store with herbs, will do just fine. When crushing the leaves, don’t completely shred them – you simply want them to be gently broken to bring out the flavor.

The orange added here picks up the tart flavors of the lime, cutting the sweetness just a bit. This complements the kick of rum. However, if you wish to make a more traditional mojito, simply omit the orange wedges from the recipe.

– – –

What’s your favorite mojito recipe? Comment below or email Jakubczyk at
[email protected].

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