A subscriber to my Cocktails Newsletter reminded me that tomorrow, July 24, is National Tequila Day in the US. Along with the info came a request for a Tequila Mojito recipe. I’d like to publicly thank that reader for calling this spirited day to my attention. Here’s a basic Tequila Mojito recipe plus some variations to consider.
Tequila Mojito - single serving:
1 heaping Tablespoon sugar
3 Tablespoons freshly squeezed lime juice
3 Tablespoons fresh mint leaves, closely packed
1 jigger tequila
Garnish: lime wedge or slice, mint sprig
Place the sugar, lime juice, and mint leaves in a highball glass. Use the back of a spoon or a wooden pestle to gently mash the mint leaves into the sugar until it dissolves and is no longer grainy (this mashing process is called muddling, as in a Muddled Old Fashioned). Add ice and tequila, then top off the glass with club soda. Use the suggested garnishes to lend a festive flair to your cocktail.
To serve a larger crowd, simply multiply the measurements above by the number of drinks you’ll want to pour from each batch. If the party is large and bartenders are in short supply, it might be a good idea to make the lime/sugar syrup ahead and keep it handy in a pitcher near the bar for easy mixing as drinks are ordered.
To mix from a pitcher of pre-made lime/sugar syrup, simply fill a glass with ice, add a jigger of tequila, about 1/2 a cup of syrup, and top off the glass with club soda.
If fresh mint leaves are not practical, for whatever reason, substitute mint-flavored extract instead. You’ll find this liquid flavoring agent in the spices section of your local supermarket; it’ll be near the vanilla extracts and other liquid flavorings, probably on an upper shelf. Experiment with just a drop or two at a time until you’re familiar with the extract and can determine how much you want for each cocktail.
There are several versions of tequila available, some of which I find more preferable for this Tequila Mojito recipe than others. I’d use any tequila in my price range that is made from 100% pure blue agave. When this high-quality sap is used in tequila distillation, the label will say so. Many tequila enthusiasts claim anything less than 100% blue agave is inferior hooch, not tequila.
With fresh, vibrant flavors such as fresh lime and mint, choose a white or silver tequila. The label may identify them with their Spanish terms, blanco and plata, respectively. These clear, clean-tasting tequilas haven’t been aged long, if at all, so the delicate, floral flavors of the agave predominate and will blend beautifully with the fresh, clean flavors of the other Mojito ingredients.
Gold and other dark-colored tequilas have acquired the illusion of higher quality and smoother flavor than white or silver tequilas but this isn’t necessarily so. The gold color comes from the wooden casks these tequilas are aged in. Over time, flavors and colors from the casks leach out of the wood and into the tequila. Aging does mellow the alcohol sensation a bit and the essence of wood adds complexity to the tequila’s flavor. I prefer to serve these longer-aged tequilas for sipping as is, on the rocks, or mixing with less flavor-intense ingredients than you’ll find in a Tequila Mojito.
¡Feliz Día de Tequila, mis amigos!