A Guest Post by Cee Perkins:
Mint is one of the freshest, crispest, most versatile herbs you can grow – whether you’re making tasty tzatziki, having mint jelly with your lamb or adding a pinch your peas and new potatoes, there’s no flavour quite like it.
The best thing about mint? It’s so easy to grow. Pop a plant in a pot and watch as it flourishes year-round on your windowsill or in your conservatory – it grows better when it’s contained, and its roots tend to wander when left to their own devices.
In celebration of the season-less seasoning, here’s a recipe for a refreshing non-alcoholic beverage that uses mint as its main ingredient. Enjoy!
The ‘Nojito’ (Virgin Mojito)
To make two glasses you’ll need:
- One lime
- Brown sugar
- A few sprigs of mint – about 10 leaves
- Soda Water, ginger beer or lemonade (depending on your taste)
- Apple juice
- Two chilled glasses
Start by chopping the lime into eighths. Pop four chunks into the bottom of your glass, add two teaspoons of brown sugar to the mix and crush everything together with something blunt – I find the handle of a wooden spoon works rather well.
The sharp sugar granules will help cut through the fruit’s juicy cells and you should have a few good squashes before you move on to add the mint – don’t break up the pith of the lime, but do make sure you’ve got a few millimetres of liquid in the bottom of your glass.
When you’re happy (and it won’t take long) sprinkle in four of five fresh mint leaves and have another pummel. Alcoholic mojitos traditionally contain a bit less mint, so feel free to experiment – but I find with a ‘nojito’ you need a bit more of everything to fill the rum-flavour void.
Don’t be so vigorous that the mint breaks up – you’re just looking to bruise the leaves to release the flavour. If you’re too enthusiastic you’ll take one sip and end up with a load of bitter, shredded mint stuck in your teeth.
Next, crush the ice – wrap the bag or cubes in a teatowel and give it a good bash with a rolling pin until you’ve got enough powdery shards to fill your glasses to the very top.
Fill the ice-full glass to quarter-full with apple juice, then top up with soda water or lemon juice and stir with a straw – enough to lift the mint through the ice, but not enough so their floating on the surface of the liquid.
Voila! You’ve got a ‘nojito’. It’s best drunk through a straw on a spring evening, accompanied by smoky barbeque food and a glorious sunset…