Lime-Mint Spritzer {aka The Virgin Mojito}

CATEGORIES: Kate, Latin, Mocktails

First of all, we get to announce the winner of our FINAL Feta Friday giveaway! The winner is The Stace who likes them on her fish tacos (and I can’t disagree with her there!) Congrats! Please email us asap at general (at) ourbestbites (dot) com so we can get your prize mailed out.

So after all my whining in Monday’s post, I decided I needed to suck it up and find a way to enjoy what’s left of my summer. When we bought our house last winter, one of our very, very favorite things about it is that it has a big, long, shaded porch that goes all the way across the front of the house. The house came with a porch swing and then a few weeks ago, we added some white wicker furniture. This week, my kids and I have spent a lot of time on the porch watching the thunderstorms and playing with toys while enjoying the cross breeze (albeit a hot and humid cross breeze) and it’s been nice. I’ll admit it.

Sara and I aren’t drinkers, but I have long admired the mojito from afar, kind of like Nestor Carbonell, only in a glass–Cuban, classic, un-aging, and just as, if not more appealing now than 10 years ago. Hello, lover.

I mean, how could I not love the idea of a mojito–it involves three of my favorite things: fancy drinks, lime, and mint. So when I was thumbing through one of my favorite cookbooks recently and found a recipe similar to mojitos (and to which you could easily add some rum for the real deal), I was inspired to whip up a batch, sit on the porch, and pretend I was in some tropical paradise (only one not involving Nestor being timelessly tormented by a smoke monster. He was, however, more than welcome to act as my cabana boy and bring me awesome drinks).

These were super easy and pretty darn inexpensive. A 24-oz. bottle of Perrier barely set me back a dollar. The mint was the spendiest part of the drink, although you don’t have to buy that if you have some growing in your garden. Which I don’t because I have a black thumb, although I’ve been known to steal some from my friend Kelly’s garden when she’s at work. And, generally speaking, the small, smooth-skinned, juicy limes that you want to be using should be super cheap. All in all, I spend a little more than $4, although really, it was less because I only used a bit of the mint and have other plans for the rest of it later this week. Not bad for a fancy summer drink for 4 people, right?

Then all you do is finely chop the mint…

Press the chopped mint with a back of a spoon to release the oils and then combine with some sugar and lime juice until the sugar dissolves, then you add the sparkling water. Maybe 10 minutes if you have to juice all the limes by yourself, 5 if you have help.
One thing about the sugar as that even in its virginity, this is a more “adult” drink, so kids might think it’s too tart. Also, limes vary in sweetness, so test this before you serve it and you can add more sugar if you need to.
After adding the sparkling water, serve immediately over lots of ice and garnish with slices of lime and sprigs of mint.
 
Lime-Mint Spritzers
I mean, how could I not love the idea of a mojito--it involves three of my favorite things: fancy drinks, lime, and mint. This Virgin Mojito is delish, refreshing, and inexpensive to put together.
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Ingredients
  1. 8-10 large mint leaves
  2. 1/2 c. sugar (you can add more if necessary, especially if kids are involved)
  3. 3/4 c. fresh lime juice (about 7 small, juicy limes)
  4. 1 24-oz. bottle of sparkling water (like Perrier)
Instructions
  1. Finely chop the mint leaves. Place the chopped mint leaves in a bowl or non-reactive pitcher and press them with a pestle or the back of a spoon to release the oils. Add the sugar and press the mint leaves and sugar together with the back of a spoon. Add the lime juice and stir until the sugar is completely dissolved and no longer grainy.
  2. If you haven't been mixing the mint and sugar in a pitcher, transfer to a glass or plastic pitcher. Right before serving, add the sparkling water and serve immediately over ice. Garnish with lime slices and mint leaves.
Adapted from The Big Book of Backyard Cooking
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21 comments

  1. I love making drinks like this in the summertime. Instead of adding sugar and lime juice straight into the glass, I use a Tablespoon (or so) of frozen limeade concentrate. Try it 🙂

  2. My favorite drink ever! I used to get this at restaurants but they charge way too much, so now I just make it myself.

  3. Kate, I love this post- from the gorgeous drink photo to the Cuban hottie. Looks fantastic!

  4. I just happen to have the Perrier in the fridge, limes in the fruit basket and the mint in the garden!
    I know what I am going to do this afternoon! Thank you.

  5. i love richard.love. and his backstory love him even more. ahh ricardo. oh and the drink looks nice too.

  6. Such a wonderful recipe, thank you! Instead of adding sugar, I used a simple syrup and it turned out really well. This is the perfect summer drink.

  7. I adore mojitos but don't like to drink a lot… So, I will be making these very soon. Cheers!

  8. I’ve been making something similar since I grow my own limes and mint. I make a simple syrup with chopped up fresh ginger in it (sometimes peeled and sliced into “coins” so I have minced ginger candy for sprinkling on things – puddings, cookies, or just eating for a digestif). I make the syrup, let it cool, strain out and discard the ginger pieces (if I’ve been lazy and didn’t peel them) and pour the syrup into a glass container (that used to have Italian lemonade in it) in the refrigerator just for these lime coolers (mojito style). I use plain sparkling selzer water (also called soda water) that is low-sodium (Raley’s brand here in Northern California) to top off the fresh crushed mint and simple syrup mixed together, followed by ice cubes and the seltzer – I have to use very tall glasses since I use about 1/2 a can of selzer per drink. The tang of ginger perks up the taste of mint, lime and sugar which is so refreshing in the heat of a Sacramento summer!

  9. I loved this refreshing summer drink (though I think a winter “mocktail” party would be a great idea for when outdoor activities are limited). I was approximating 1.75 times the recipe in order to use up an opened bottle of club soda. I ended up with more sparkling water in it than it probably should have, but we liked the less sweet, less intense version.

  10. Another version we’ve been using alot uses tonic water, real cranberry juice, a quarter of a lime or half a key lime, 7-10 mint leaves and a tablespoon of sugar. You muddle or using the bottom of say a wooden spoon squeeze all the juice out of the limes onto the sugar and slightly cut up the leaves but LEAVE them in the glass. Put a layer of ice on top to hold everything down. Put in even amounts of Tonic water and cranberry juice. Now I stir with a straw to mix in the sugar mint flavor and lime flavor. It is a great summer virgin mojito mix as well!!

  11. I made this today and it was very tasty! Next time I will add slightly more sugar as mentioned in the recipe.

  12. I’ve made these twice now – really good and really fun! Last night I diced up a few sweet cherries (bing cherries) and muddled them together with the sugar and limes. Yummy and gives it a nice color and a bit of extra sweetness and flavor! Happy summer!

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