I’m not much of a sweet mixed drink person, so, the first time I was offered a mojito, I was a bit apprehensive. It only took one sip for me to realize that sweet is not how I would describe it but fresh is. The combination of fresh lime and mint makes this drink so refreshing in the summer. I saw a recipe for this drink that has the addition of fresh strawberries and knew it was something I had to try myself, but I wanted to wait until fresh strawberries were in season. As of Wednesday, DeGroots Farms in Gregory started their strawberry picking season, so, yesterday, I headed out to the farm to pick. If you just don’t have time to pick your own you can get them fresh from any local farmer’s market or daily from the People’s Food Coop, in Ann Arbor, where you can also get them organic!
My original goal was to pick strawberries for a couple of different recipes, including the strawberry mojito. However, I got to thinking it might be pretty cool if I could adapt this drink to make it more of a local drink. To do this, I decided that, instead of rum, I would use vodka and Ugly Dog Vodka in Chelsea was the perfect place to get my vodka. Also, the original recipe calls for sugar or a simple syrup, so I decided to replace that ingredient with honey bought from Jenny’s Market in Dexter.
My quest for fresh strawberries lead to a little road trip for what turned out to be one of the best drinks I’ve had in quite sometime. I stopped at Jenny’s Market for honey on my way out of town and then headed down North Territorial to Ugly Dog for my vodka. It was just another 13 miles north to DeGroots Farm for my strawberries. When I got home I relaxed with this version of the classic Cuban drink.
- 1 tablespoon honey
- 10-12 fresh mint leaves and one sprig
- 4 medium strawberries
- 1/2 lime (3-4 wedges)
- Ice cubes
- 1 1/2 ounces vodka
- club soda
In a tall glass add, a tablespoon of honey and the mint leaves. *Muddle the leaves till they are slightly bruised. Add the strawberries and muddle them just enough to release the juices. I muddle the mint leaves a little more than the strawberries because it didn’t take much to release the juices from the fresh but delicate strawberries. I suspect the large store bought strawberries would need more muddling. Squeeze the lime into the glass (toss in the squeezed wedges too) but save one wedge for garnish. Fill the glass 2/3 full with ice and add the vodka. Top the glass off with club soda and stir well. Garnish with a lime wedge and a sprig of mint.
*Muddling is when ingredients are bruised by pressing them with a tool called a muddler. This is usually done right in the mixing glass that is being used to create the drink, and is completed prior to most of the drink’s liquid ingredients being added to the glass. You don’t have to have a muddler to do this, I don’t. I used the end of my wooden lemon juicer. Find something with that will work to press the ingredients so that it releases the oils but does not chop or cut the food. The motion is a pressing and twisting slightly.
Chill. Not the drink, but you.
By the way, DeGroots Farm will be picking strawberries for about three weeks. Also, Ugly Dog is doing a special event this weekend at Bayou Grill in Bellville, (404 main st.) for the strawberry festival. For more information go to their facebook page. I believe they will be serving strawberry mojitos!