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Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Basil Mojito

Another Mardi Gras is over.  I just tried my first Basil Mojito, and it was great.  I want to thank my friend John Mahaffie, who follows this blog, for bringing this delicious cocktail to my attention.  I had always enjoyed the classic Mojito that is made with mint.  When John mentioned in a response to my Mardi Gras post that he had seen a Basil Mojito on a cooking show, I had my doubts, but I knew I had to try it, so I googled the recipe and found several.  For some reason, the first grocery store I went to was out of mint.  I feared a pre-Mardi Gras mint rush (in Salt Lake City???) was in progress, but the next store had plenty.  Both stores had fresh organic basil in stock.  I was ready for Mardi Gras.  (FYI, look for both mint and basil in the produce department with the herbs.   When you get your herbs home, go through them and throw out any damaged or blackened leaves or stems, carefully washing and draining the remainder (which should be most of your purchase if you did a good job of selecting them at the store).  Store them in plastic bags in the crisper of your fridge.)

As soon as President Obama was done speaking (well, actually it was shortly after Bobby Jindal began speaking) I headed for the bar.  I prepared three glasses, putting a teaspoon of sugar into each.  Then into the first I put all mint leaves, into the second I put half mint leaves and half basil leaves, and into the third I put all basil leaves.  Finally, I cut two fresh limes in half, and squeezed a half-lime into each of the three glasses, reserving the final lime half for a fourth Mojito, TBD.  You should have smelled the room when I went to work with my favorite Muddler.  Having muddled through, I poured the measure of light rum into each glass and stirred to ensure the sugar was dissolved.  Then I added ice and topped off each glass with soda water from my Soda Siphon.  (If you don’t have a siphon, feel free to use bottled or canned soda water.)  The results were amazing.  I had had my doubts about using basil, but the Basil Mojito was great.  It actually seemed to taste a little smoother and cooler than the traditional mint Mojito, and I’m torn between the two.  I will definitely have more Basil Mojitos in the future, but I won’t become a traditional Mojito apostate, either.  If you get the chance, try these side by side and decide for yourself.  This would be a great new cocktail to introduce to your friends at a Drink-of-the-Month club gathering.


Basil Mojito

2 oz light Rum

fresh squeezed juice of ½ Lime (½ oz )

1 tsp bar sugar

6-8 basil leaves (optionally use some mint)

soda water

Put the basil leaves and sugar into an Old Fashion glass.  Squeeze the lime juice into the glass.  Muddle well to bring out the smell and flavor of the basil.  For a Basil Mint Mojito, replace some of the basil leaves with mint leaves.  Add the rum and stir to dissolve the sugar.  Fill the glass with ice, then top off with soda water and stir lightly.  Garnish with a lime wheel and serve with a straw.  Vary the basil to suit your taste.



  1. Just had a friend introduce me to the Basil-Mint Mojito last weekend at a picnic - it was great! I've just pillage my farmers market this morning for the freshest bunches of both mint and basil and am off to the races and looking forward to the noon hour so I can responsibly try some new concoctions.

    One thing my friends recipe did a bit differently was to skip the bar sugar in the glass in place of freshly prepared basil simple syrup and then keep the leave content in the glass mostly mint with just a few basil thrown in for kicks. I'm going to try a side-by-side comparison of your method vs. hers but I've got an inkling that her's might stand up better under scrutiny. I've got the freshly made simple syrup cooling now (1 part water, 1 part sugar, 1 part fresh basil leaves - boil all three for 1 minute, stand for 30 minutes, strain into fresh container & chill - good for up to 30 days if refrigerated).

  2. Brian:

    That sounds like a great variation. I sometimes use lavender simple syrup in my Mojitos and I really like the difference it (and other herb flavored syrups) can make in a cocktail that calls for sweetener.

    An added bonus is that the syrup will keep a lot longer than the fresh herbs will. You can also dry a bunch of fresh herbs by tying them with a piece of string and hanging them upside down, then use them to make syrup later.

    I tend to let the syrup stand longer than you did, and taste it every ten minutes or so until it gets where it's "just right".

    Thanks for taking the time to comment and I hope you enjoy your cocktails!

  3. I made a Lemon Verbena simple syrup last summer, and it was gorgeous in a mojito!