Start to Finish: 5 to 10 minutes
Difficulty Level: Beginner
Skipping the booze doesn't mean you can't have a spirited beverage. With fresh, flavorful ingredients such as fresh lime and muddled mint, you won't even miss the rum in this refreshing Nojito -- a virgin spin on the classic Cuban cocktail. Once you have the basic recipe down, you can experiment by using different sweeteners and optional add-ins, and switching sparkling water for a different carbonated beverage to create a mojito mocktail that's custom-tailored to quench your thirst and tickle your taste buds. This recipe has been adapted from Food & Wine.
- 30 mint leaves
- 2 to 3 teaspoons granulated sugar
- Juice of 2 to 3 limes
- 1 ounce simple syrup
- 8 ounces club soda or unflavored seltzer
Lime-Infused Simple Syrup:
- 1 cup granulated sugar
- 1 cup water
- Zest of 1 lime
Making Simple Syrup
Make simple syrup by combining the sugar, water and lime zest in a small saucepan. Bring the mixture to a boil over medium or medium-high heat, simmering the syrup for three to five minutes or until the sugar dissolves. Take the pan off the heat, and allow the syrup to cool before using it.
Mixing Virgin Mojitos
Squeeze or juice enough fresh limes to yield 2 ounces of lime juice -- typically 2 to 3 limes.
Muddle the ingredients using a muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon to press the fresh herb leaves into the bottom of the shaker so they release their essential oils and give the mocktail a punch of flavor.
Fill the shaker two-thirds full with ice. At the same time, add ice to two tall glasses, filling them halfway or according to personal preference.
Put the lid on, and shake the mixture vigorously for 15 to 30 seconds.
Divide the contents between the two glasses. Top each glass with club soda or unflavored seltzer before garnishing each nojito with a fresh wedge of lime and a small sprig of mint.
You have many options for varying the flavor of this mocktail. When you crave a break from the classic lime and mint combination, try one of the following:
- Add a few shakes of Angostura bitters to the cocktail shaker before muddling the ingredients. In addition to cutting the sweetness of the drink, bitters add a deep complexity to the taste.
- Reduce the amount of lime by half and add a handful of fresh berries, sliced peaches or fresh mango to the cocktail shaker for a lightly fruity version. For bolder fruit flavor, add 1 to 3 ounces of pomegranate juice to the glass.
- Switch to a different soda, such as ginger ale or lemon-lime, for an instant flavor change.