Mocktails are tricky: combinations of flavors and textures that work with booze in the picture don’t look anything like a real cocktail when you take the booze out. A Mojito without rum is basically just mint and lime and sugar – minty limeade. Nice, but not really a mocktail, not something you’d want to serve a non-drinking guest at a cocktail party. So coming up with a Mocktail Mojito means playing around a bit until you find something that works. – Andrew
A Mocktail Mojito
To make the mint syrup: first blanch the leaves of 5-7 mint sprigs in boiling water for 15 seconds, then immediately plunge the leaves in ice water for a minute. (This will preserve the mint’s color.) Make a simple syrup by melting a cup of white sugar into a cup of water in a saucepan over low heat, stirring frequently. Combine the syrup and mint leaves in a blender and pulse until the leaves are chopped up but not liquified. Strain the syrup through a coffee filter or cheesecloth and bottle, then refrigerate.
To make the mocktail: muddle the half a lime in the bottom of a highball glass, then add the syrups and coconut water. Fill the glass with ice and top with tonic water. Give it a stir, garnish with a mint sprig, and enjoy!
Mint and lime and sugar, of course, but tonic water – bitter from the quinine – instead of soda water in a Mojito? But it makes sense! Cutting out the rum means cutting out a bitterness that the tonic helps replace. The coconut water adds a bit of a tang and some texture to the drink, while the pine adds a subtle depth of flavor that echoes some of the crisp, funky ester flavors you’d get from rum.
So this mocktail isn’t going to taste like a real Mojito, but it comes pretty close to matching the look and feel of a Mojito, in a way that a glass of limeade wouldn’t cut it.
(Don’t forget to follow us on Instagram, where we’ve been posting our experiments before they make their way onto this column!)
Glassware by Liquorary
Photo Credits: Nole Garey for Oh So Beautiful Paper