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With its citrus tang, sugary sweetness, and crisp mint flavor, a mojito is like an adult lemonade—the ultimate summer thirst quencher. We asked DC native Kevin Diedrich, head bartender at Georgetown’s Bourbon Steak, to give us a recipe—and words of wisdom—on how to make a killer version.
Diedrich claps the mint leaves between his hands to release their oils before gently crushing them, being careful not to cause bruising. Too much handling, he says, can cause the mint flavor to turn bitter. Shaved or crushed ice is essential to keep the drink cold and dilute it.
Kevin Diedrich’s Mojito
4 to 5 fresh mint sprigs
¾ ounce fresh lime juice
¾ ounce sugar-cane syrup
2 ounces 10 Cane rum
Crushed or shaved ice
Put mint, lime juice, and cane syrup into a tall glass and gently crush or “muddle” with the back of a wooden spoon. Add rum. Top with crushed ice. Stir gently with a bar spoon. Top with soda water to taste and garnish with a mint sprig.
Make a great gin and tonic
Few things are more refreshing on a balmy evening than an ice-cold gin and tonic. José Andrés, chef-owner of hot spots Zaytinya, Oyamel, Jaleo, Café Atlántico, and Minibar has a recipe in his latest book, Made in Spain: Spanish Dishes for the American Kitchen, that shows there’s more to the drink than mixing up its two main ingredients.
A tip: Use six-to-eight-ounce bottles of tonic (larger ones go flat fast), but go big with ice cubes: Melting ice is your enemy, he says, because it’ll dilute the cocktail, and large cubes melt more slowly.
Fill two eight-ounce glasses three-quarters full with ice. Pour two ounces of gin over the ice in each glass. Top each with about two ounces of tonic water. Twist the peel over the ice to release its oils, then rub the rim with the peel and drop it into the glass. Drop in a few juniper berries and, holding your thumb over the opening of the gin bottle, pour a thin layer of gin on top.
To see the drink being made, check out our video below.