I’ve always hated the Mint Julep which is probably why it’s one of the few classic cocktails I’ve not written about here. With just bourbon, mint, sugar and ice it lacks the balance that I consider so important in a good cocktail. Yes, Americans tend to love them but then they are used to a lot of sugar in their food and drink. So instead I present unto you a summer drink that has a certain amount of common ground with the Mint Julep but with the requisite balance and a simplicity of preparation – which we all value, right? The Mr. Mojo also borrows a fair amount from the Mojito (hence the name) and drops in a favourite amaro of mine to give some extra depth. I used Ramazzotti but Averna, Lucano and a few others are close enough in profile to work too. I tried both lemon and lime as the sour component but the latter seemed more pleasing to me. To keep things nice and simple we’ll put our mint directly into the shaker but do remember that mint gives up its flavoursome oils pretty readily so we just give it a light shake to prevent it over-fragmenting. Done properly this means no bits of mint small enough to get sucked up a straw should remain. A “dirty dump” of the entire contents of the shaker into a partially iced glass ensures sufficient chillagé and prevents us from over-diluting with the soda water. Simple. Delicious. Now show me the way to the next whisky bar…
1.5oz / 45ml bourbon of choice*.
0.5oz / 15ml Ramazzotti or similar amaro.
1oz / 30ml fresh lime juice.
0.75oz / 22 ml demerara syrup (1:1).
7-8 mint leaves.
Shake relatively gently with ice and pour entire contents of shaker into partially iced Collins glass. Top up with a little soda water (2-3oz/60-90ml maximum!). Stir gently and garnish with a mint sprig.
Toast The Lizard King (1943 – 1971).
*But choose Wild Turkey 101!