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Cover: Shaken and stirred

Recipes with white rum

27Sep 12

Mojito Jelly Shots

Mojito Jelly ShotsWarning: Mojito Jelly Shots can turn you seriously silly! Note to self and guests: Remember they contain alcohol!

I remember first making Mojito Jelly Shots one evening for a dinner party with close friends. Two of our friends were Cuban, and we often had competitions to see who could prepare the best Mojitos. So the jelly shots were my way of stepping up the game. The after-dinner treat turned, what started as a fairly reserved dinner, into one very funny evening. The combination of the refreshing Mojito cocktail with a chilled jelly is just divine.

As the idea just came to me during the morning, I didn’t prepare with shot glasses or individual serving bowls. I just made the jelly in one large bowl, and we all ate from the bowl with tablespoons! However, I recommend that you serve the jelly in shot glasses or create unique forms with jelly or ice moulds for a more professional look.

If you are preparing the Mojito Jelly Shots for an evening party, then you need to prepare them first thing in the morning. If they are for lunch or afternoon parties, then you should prepare them the night before. There is nothing worse than a runny jelly!

If you enjoy mint-flavoured drinks, then you could also have a go at a delicious Mint Julep.

Mojito Jelly Shots
Author: 
Recipe type: Cocktail
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 12-16
 
Cuban Jelly Shots. Combine the delicious minty, cool refereshing Mojito with jelly.
Ingredients
  • 10 leaves of gelatine
  • 80cl sparkling water or soda water
  • 10cl white rum – Havana Club Añejo is my preferred choice
  • 9 tbsp brown sugar
  • Bunch of fresh mint – chopped finely
  • Juice of 4 limes
  • 2 limes finely sliced
Instructions
  1. Crush the mint in a cocktail shaker (or with a pestle and mortar).
  2. Add the rum, brown sugar and lime juice and shake thoroughly.
  3. Now add the sparking water and mix thoroughly.
  4. Strain the mixture, grinding the mint into the strainer to ensure that you get as much of the mint flavour as possible.
  5. Dissolve your gelatine leaves as per the instructions.
  6. Add and stir your Mojito mix into the gelatine.
  7. Pour into 5cl shot glasses, small paper cups or jelly or ice moulds. If you are using shot glasses or cups, fill them up ¾ of the way.
  8. Refrigerate for four to five hours until they are set.
  9. Garnish with chopped mint leaves and serve with a smile.

 

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28Jun 12

The real story behind the first daiquiri

DaiquiriCuba, for some reason, has always been a source of inspiration for the invention of drinks. There are many stories about bars like La Bodeguita del Medio, where Ernest Hemingway used to drink, and the history of sugar cane is attatched to the history of rum as much as it is to the history of the country. Today, I want to tell you about a very well-known cocktail, which can be mixed with a number of fruits and is a classic in Cuba and worldwide: the daiquiri.

On the 20th June, 1898, American troops landed in Cuba to get involved in the Hispanic-Cuban-American war. They chose two beaches to do so: Siboney and Daiquiri, the latter near Santiago de Cuba in the south of the country. The American soldiers were wearing winter uniforms when they set out on their campaign, and dehydration became a huge problem. When they joined the Cuban forces, though, they were saved by a refreshing drink that the local soldiers served them: “La canchánchara”, a mix of rum, water, lemon and honey.

Many years after that event, Emilio Gonzalez (also know as “Maragoto”), a Spanish bartender, took that formula and turned it into a fancy cocktail served at the Plaza Hotel in La Habana. After that, it was inmortalized by Constantino Ribalaigua, “El Gran Constante”, at La Floridita, another famous bar in the Cuban capital. He tok the original recipe and invented the “frappé daiquiri”, a “Below Zero” version of the first daiquiri, using loads of ice and also adding a few drops of marraschino, a very delicate, sweet and scented liqueur. Then he gave it the magical touch: he just poured everything into a blender and the mix came out looking like a snowflake.

Maraschino liqueur is used in various cocktails, among which includes the morello aviation cocktail, a cherry-flavoured delight. It is a perfect, yet subtle, complement to many tipples. And garnishing it with a maraschino cherry is the finishing touch!

To begin with, it was known as the “Wild Daiquiri” or the “Original”. Over the decades, it has been modified so many times there is practically a different recipe and fruit in every summer resort around the world. The story of the drink, however, remains the same, as does the original mix of one of my favourite cocktails.

Needed:

  • 3cl white rum
  • 1 spoonful of sugar
  • Half a squeezed lemon
  • Plenty of grinded ice
  • A drop of maraschino liqueur

How to make it:

1. Place all the ingredients in a blender and shake for at least 30 seconds.
2. Garnish with a lemon or lime wedge with a maraschino cherry.

Time: 3 minutes
Makes: 1 cocktail

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24Jun 12

The mai tai, an out of this world drink

Mai TaiThere are certain things about cocktails which I am very fussy about. Usually, if it includes an umbrella, I turn away in disgust. Moreover, if the garnish piles a slice of orange, a lemon twist, a mint sprig and even a straw in the glass, there is no way I am settling for it. At least, this is what I thought until I was presented with a beverage with all the above mentioned overcrowding my glass. Rules do happen to have exceptions, and the mai tai cocktail is mine.

The mai tai is a drink based on rum, Curacao liqueur and lime juice, associated with Polynesian-style settings, also known as tiki bars. According to history, it was first concocted by Victor Bergeron in 1944 at his restaurant in Oakland, California. Vic admitted during an interview that he was actually trying to impress some friends from Tahiti whom, after trying his sweet colourful cocktail, promptly exclaimed “Mai Tai, Roa Ae”, which in Tahitian means “Out of this world, the best”.

The original version included large amounts of both white and dark Jamaican rum. Over the years, the recipe has changed a lot, disguising the rum under layers of fruit. Still, the white and dark give it a unique, scented and strong taste that mixes nicely with the sweetness of the rest of the ingredients. As a friend of mine put it, “a mai tai should taste like a holiday on a tropical island where there is nothing but sun, fun and a good hangover the next day.”

Needed:

  • 3cl white rum
  • 3cl dark rum
  • 1.5cl orange curacao
  • 1.5cl syrup
  • 1cl pineapple juice
  • 1cl lime juice

How to make it:
1.Pour all the ingredients except the dark rum into a shaker with ice cubes and shake for 30 seconds.
2.Strain into an old-fashioned glass with ice.
3.Top with the dark rum.
4.Garnish with one, some or all: orange slice, a lemon slice, a mint spring, a straw and an umbrella!

Time: 5 minutes
Makes: 1 serving

Note: The combination of fruits in this drink reminded me of a recipe that I saw for poached pineapple upside-down cake. It might make a great combination with the mai tai tipple!

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15Jun 12

Mango Daiquiri

Mango DaquiriMango Daiquiri is one of the best classics, an international icon, having been created at the turn of the century in the town of Daiquiri in Havana, Cuba. This tipple is definitely one of my favourite cocktails for any season, although fruity drinks are often considered most refreshing in hotter weather.

Legend has it that this drink originated from a local businessman who had run out of imported gin and had to resort to using local rum for his drinks. At the time, the rum was of unreliable quality, so to mask its flavour, other ingredients were added.

Generally, a mango daiquiri will normally include sliced mango pieces, sweet and sour mix, and sometimes a small amount of orange-flavored liqueur and simple syrup. Some people prefer rum, while others like the light variety of this spirit. I personally am a fan of Cuban rum, and it suits any mango-flavoured or other fruity drinks magnificently. I also love the flavour that vodka and cointreau adds to it.

Additional ingredient alternatives for this mango beverage can be lime or lemon juice, -which I usually add-, and small measures of sugar to add sweetness. Either frozen or fresh mangos can be used for this drink, although many people report that ripe mangos yield a sweeter taste, and they prefer it to the frozen fruit. (For a non-alcoholic mango drink, try this Indian lassi.)

Needed:

• 2 large mangos, peeled, flesh chopped
• 18.5cl white rum
• 12.5cl Cointreau
• 8cl fresh lime juice
• 6cl vodka
• 1 glass of crushed ice
• Fresh fruit slices to garnish

How it’s done:

1. Place mango, rum, Cointreau, lime juice, vodka and crushed ice in the jug of a blender and blend until smooth.
2. Divide the drink into two cold glasses.

3. Garnish with your favourite fruit slices and serve.

Time: 10 minutes
Makes: 2 cocktails

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