Thursday, March 21, 2013

Pleasure Reading and Guilty Pleasures

Hello Friends,

In true spring break fashion, yesterday I enjoyed a lovely day of leisure reading and at-home cocktail making. I don't know what happened between fifth grade and college but I completely lost the love of reading that I once had when I was a youngin'. Whether it was being forced to read material I had little to no vested interest in or having a lack of comprehension skills, there was a long period of time where reading for pleasure was absent from my life. I'm so glad that my initial affinity toward reading has recently reemerged as I've taken up to reading on my spare time and even joined a book club. I'm pretty sure my high school English teachers would be proud if they knew I was reading Orwell's 1984 for fun (it really is my current spring break leisure read!). There's nothing like letting a book make you wonder and ponder, transport you to a new world, or just give you peace of mind. There is so much joy that can be derived from reading and as a budding teacher, it is one of my biggest hopes that I can bring this joy out of my students.

Now from pleasure reading to guilty pleasures. It's no secret that I love a great cocktail. For me, cocktails really epitomize some of my favorite things - the use of your hands to create, the ability to play around with flavors, and of course being surrounded by the dearest of company. The Mojito is one of my all-time favorite cocktails and a classic. The combination of mint, citrus, simple syrup, and rum totally jives for me. First off, mint is one of my absolute favorite herbs and secondly, I find acidity to be extremely pleasing to my palate. To top it all off I have a major sweet tooth, so the Mojito really is for me, in one word: perfection.

Omit the strawberries for a classic Mojito.

After an initial Google search for Mojitos, I got a general idea of the ingredients and started playing around with them. Here's my recipe for a delicious Mojito:

  • Generous helping of mint, stems and all
  • 1/2 a large lemon
  • 1 medium sized lime and extra for garnish
  • 1/2 shot of simple syrup (equal parts sugar and water cooked over low to medium heat until sugar has dissolved; let cool)
  • 1/2 - 1 shot of Bacardi Limon (depending how strong you want it)
  • Club Soda
  • Ice
  • Optional - strawberries or any other fresh fruit flavor you want to infuse
Mojito purists will argue that the mint leaves should not be shredded but bruised to release the oils. Well one of the benefits of making cocktails at home is crafting them to your personal taste and I love to chew on pieces of mint as I'm sipping so I muddled my mint to shreds! If you don't have a muddler laying around, just use the back of a wooden spoon. It works really well. Another tip for muddling the leaves is to use a pinch of sugar to help create more of an abrasive surface.

After muddling the mint, I added some chopped strawberries and muddled them as well. For a classic Mojito, just omit the strawberries. Then I squeezed in the juice of 1/2 a lemon and 1 whole lime. I muddled half a squeezed lime in with the strawberry and mint for extra flavor.

Once all the ingredients that needed to be muddled were combined, I added in 1/2 a shot of simple syrup along with 3/4 shot of rum. I recommend the Bacardi Limon, it really compliments the citrus notes in this cocktail and has a slightly lower alcohol content than regular rum. Finally, I topped it off with ice, club soda, and some extra sprigs of mint and a lime wheel for garnish. Give it a good stir and enjoy! Super refreshing, super delicious! What's your guilty pleasure cocktail of choice?

As always thanks for reading!


  1. Your mojito sounds delicious! My palate also loves acidity, mmm. Cheers to 1984, it's one of my all-time favorite books -- dystopian sci-fi rife with social commentary is fascinating. I totally read the entire Newspeak appendix (nerd alert). Oh and that photo of you at home is really lovely, is that forsythia? Yay spring!

    1. Your knowledge of all things botanical never ceases to amaze me!!