Wednesday, May 21, 2008

The Great Mojito Experiment

Today was Kylie's last day of Pre-K. She is now officially a kindergartener. Well, she will be, when school starts again. So she and I had a few Bacardi Mojitos, to celebrate her graduation.

Ok, not really.

On the last day of school, they all went in bathing suits for a water-play party. Parents were invited to stay for the entire three hours. How come when she was at school and I was out doing my thing, three hours was so short? It was kind of long today. And the kids were all wound up.

They started out by making a circle...

Which quickly deteriorated when the water balloons were brought out.

Then there was a lot of running around with squirt bottles.

And a lot of trying to squirt me while I was trying to take pictures.

By the way, when you have a moment, take a look at all the little girls in bathing suits. Notice that my daughter is the only one in a two-piece suit. This is what comes from having teenaged sisters, and a mother who is jealous of your five year-old flat tummy. I say if you can pull it off, go for it, sister. I wonder if all the other moms think I'm horrible, letting her wear that. But she looks so dadgum cute, doesn't she? Well, I think so.

There was face painting.

Hey, I know how to keep the daughters of the face-painters occupied...let's paint mom's back! And shoulders! She was a good sport.

There was a lot of dancing, and limbo-ing.
Um, kids? That's not how you're supposed to...oh, never mind.

There was a lot of hugging, and there were a lot of tears. Mostly from the moms. This is Kylie with the teacher's aide in her class. She broke her foot a few days ago, but wanted to be there to say goodbye to the kids, hence the wheelchair.

This was a bittersweet day for me, because I've decided to take Kylie out of the charter school and put her in public school for kindergarten, for many reasons which I won't go into here. My other two kids grew up in that charter school, and it was a wonderful place. Those memories, and these today, make me second-guess myself, which I'm sure I'll continue to do all summer.

But we have a great public school district, and I already have two kids in the public schools, and I know Kylie will be fine. And they'll all three be on the same schedule, for the first time in 5 years.

What I'm trying to say, is that between all the squirt bottles and water balloons, dancing, eating, and crying, it was an emotionally exhausting morning. And I felt bad for the two teachers, who had to pull themselves together afterwards, so they could repeat the whole thing with the afternoon class.

But what I'm really saying is that I was drained.

So it seemed like the perfect time.

We're having a little get-together with some friends this coming Sunday. And I've always wanted to try making Mojitos. I've never even had one, but they sounded good. I decided today would be the day that I would experiment with making one, and if it turned out well, I would make them for everyone on Sunday.

So, with a little shout-out to my favorite Pioneer Woman and her photo-cooking demonstrations, I've decided to show you how I made my Mojito.

First, we have the cast of characters: Club soda, fresh mint leaves, limes, sugar, and the all-important Bacardi rum. I'll skimp on the Kroger brand soda and sugar, but I'll spring for the Bacardi. It's important to have the Real Thing. And I don't mean Coca-Cola.

First, depending on which recipe you believe, you put between 4 and 12 fresh mint leaves in the bottom of a highball glass. I don't have a highball glass, so I'm using this extremely spotty glass. I used about 10 mint leaves.
*note to self - if you're going to do demonstrations, for heaven's sake, use a non-spotty glass*

Next, we "muddle" the mint leaves in the bottom of the glass, which is a fancy way of saying squish 'em up. For this, you use a tool called a muddler. I don't have a muddler, so I'm using the handle end of a barbecue brush. Hey, I'm improvising here.

Next, add two wedges of lime to the glass.
*note to self - if you're going to do demonstrations, for heaven's sake, get yourself a decent knife. That one is awful*

Put the lime wedges in the glass with the mint leaves...

and muddle some more, until it's nice and squishy.

Then, pour two teaspoons of sugar into the glass. Some recipes call for a simple syrup, or sugar syrup, which involves boiling equal parts water and sugar together, and then letting it cool down. I don't have that kind of time, so I went with the recipe that said it's ok to just use teaspoons of sugar. In fact, this recipe is kind of a hodgepodge of several that I found.

After you add the sugar, fill the glass with crushed ice. If you don't have crushed ice, fill a Ziploc bag with ice cubes, then bang on the bag with the bottom of a mason jar for a while. That's what I did. We're high-tech around here.

Then, the most important part: Two shots of Bacardi. Hmmm, I wonder whose flip-flop that is under the chair over there?
*note to self - that grout is gross. You should really clean that*

Also, when doing a demonstration such as this, I highly recommend having a second person to take pictures. Pouring rum with one hand and taking a picture with the other hand? Not as easy as you might think.

Then fill the remainder of the glass with club soda. Can you tell the counter is wet? The club soda exploded on me when I opened it. And if you think pouring rum with one hand is hard, trying pouring something out of a full two liter bottle with that hand.

Stir it all together, and garnish with a lime wedge and a sprig of mint. Doesn't that look tasty? I'll let you know...

Ok, here's the thing. After all that work, I didn't really care too much for it. I mean, I drank it, but I wasn't like, OMG it's so yummy, which is what other people have told me. After downing the entire drink, I decided it was too limey for me.

Of course, I had to make one more attempt. What do you mean, don't you have to go to work this afternoon? Shush. I have no idea what you're talking about.

Attempt number two was a little different, and I have no pictures. But what I did is I put about 10 more mint leaves in a larger glass, one lime wedge, and the 3 teaspoons of sugar, with a tiny splash of club soda. Then I muddled all that together until it was squishy-like.

I didn't feel like banging another Ziploc bag full of ice, so I just filled the glass with ice cubes. Poured in my two shots of rum, then filled the rest of the glass with the club soda. Then I took a large plastic cup and put it upside down over my glass, and shook the drink around some, like bartenders do. Except I'll bet they have an actual muddler, and aren't using a plastic cup from the zoo for their mixer.

The second drink was better, but I've come to the conclusion that I really don't care for the mint. I'm not sure what fresh mint is supposed to taste like, because I've never had it before. But if that's what it is, I don't like it so much. That didn't stop me from finishing the drink, of course.

Now I'm stuck with this bottle of rum, which I will take with me on Sunday. What's your favorite rum drink? I need some ideas.


Greta said...

Hun, I am so with you. My youngest starts All-day kindergarten in the fall. Will you hold my hand ;)

Jenn @ Juggling Life said...

I'm not a big mojito fan myself. I am a big fan of Planter's Punch.

Kindergarten was so long ago--my youngest will start high school in the fall. I do remember how long those school celebrations could seem though.

Shelley said...

Jenn, I Googled Planter's Punch, and that sounds a lot better to me! Sometimes I will order just rum with half cranberry juice and half pineapple juice. The orange juice with some Grenadine sounds great too. I'm going to try that, definitely.