Last weekend I ran down to Virginia Beach. Had to exchange a Christmas gift, and do a bit of pantry restocking. Got the chance to visit the new Ikea – I had my youngest with me and he chose the Swedish Meatball lunch over chicken nuggets at Chic-fil-A. Winning as a parent, y’all. For real real.
Stopped by all the usual suspects of my food shopping spots, although now it’s harder because we also have a Wegmans – Hampton Roads has really been stepping it up lately. Anywho, I can never resist getting something that I don’t see very often when I’m down there. Last time it was Buddha’s Hand (I made an ahhhhmazing infused vodka), this time I saw fresh red currants and couldn’t pass them up!
Usually I’ll bake with them, or just use them for garnishes on things because they’re so darned pretty. Since trying to get back on the blogging bandwagon, I’ve been going through and looking at what I haven’t posted in a while – and one of those things was a cocktail…
I just so happened to have a handle of Bacardi that needs has been hanging around in the liquor cabinet (word to Robin at VA ABC who pointed out I could get a handle for the same price as a liter during a sale last year). So I thought, why not?
I love adding different fruits to my fav cocktails to make a new twist on an old favorite, and the currants certainly didn’t disappoint. They added the most gorgeous red hue to the drink, and added a lovely hint of tartness. I don’t like my drinks super-sweet, but if you do – feel free to add more simple syrup. Which is great in itself, actually. A splash of that in seltzer water is delicious, and waaay less sugar than a soda.
And if you can’t find red currants – you could use raspberries or blackberries. Or just keep it simple, as a traditional mojito with the lime and fresh mint. In any form, it’s sure to add a little brightness to a dreary winter’s day. Have a great weekend, everyone!
Red Currant Mojito
1/4 cup red currants
fresh mint, about 5 leaves
1/4 cup white rum (like Bacardi)
2 Tbsp mojito simple syrup
1 lime, zested and juiced
For the Mojito simple syrup:
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
lime zest (zest the lime you use for the mojito)
fresh mint, about 10 leaves
Make the simple syrup by combining the water, sugar, zest, and mint in a small saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat for about 2 minutes, until sugar has dissolved and mixture is clear. Take off heat, let cool to room temperature, then strain mixture into a mason jar. Can be kept in refrigerator up to 1 month.
Fill a tall glass halfway with ice. Add the currants to the glass with the ice, tear mint leaves into pieces and add them as well. Use a muddler or end of a wooden spoon to press the currants and mint into the ice – breaking up to release their flavor.
Add rum, simple syrup, and juice of half a lime. Top off with seltzer water. Give a stir or pour into another glass to combine. The whole process could also be done in a cocktail shaker, but you’ll still want to muddle.
Garnish with a lime wedge, sprig of mint, and currants if desired.