The Mojito is a consummate summer libation: mint, rum, lime and club soda make for a refreshing and intoxicating mix that begs to be sipped out on a beachfront, lawn or front porch on a sunny afternoon. However, unless you live in its birthplace of Cuba or another tropical locale, it’s likely a good portion of the year involves fewer sunny afternoons and more cloudy, rainy and even snowy ones. But that shouldn’t keep you from enjoying a Mojito at any time of year, especially if it’s a rich and botanical variation like the Winter Mojito.
This all-season highball comes from Eden Laurin, a food and beverage consultant and a managing partner at Chicago’s famous Violet Hour, known for its bold and experimental cocktail program. In the pursuit of the perfect cold weather take on a Mojito, Laurin spices aged rum with warming cinnamon, cloves and star anise. A splash of Licor 43—a Spanish liqueur flavored with vanilla, herbs and spices—adds aromatics, and demerara syrup adds darkness and caramel notes that ordinary simple syrup does not.
While there are plenty of options for spiced rum that do not involve home infusion—such as Kraken, Cruzan 9 Spiced Rum, and Sailor Jerry—making it at home provides the opportunity to customize the flavor profile to your liking. Laurin’s recipe calls for cinnamon, clove and star anise, but feel free to tweak to your preferences. Adding ginger would bring the drink closer to a Dark & Stormy, another delicious winter rum drink. A bit of nutmeg and orange peel make for a lovely holiday sipper that goes as well in a Spiced Eggnog or Hot Buttered Rum as it does the Winter Mojito. And something as unconventional as dried peppers can add a fiery kick to really warm your insides during the colder months; just be sure to check for balance before you overdo it.
- 2 ounces housemade spiced rum*
- 3/4 ounce lime juice, freshly squeezed
- 1/2 ounce demerara syrup
- 1 mint sprig
- 1 ounce soda water, to top
- 1 barspoon Licor 43 liqueur
- Garnish: mint sprig
Add the spiced rum, lime juice and demerara syrup into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Double-strain the drink into a Collins glass with fresh ice and a mint sprig.
Top with club soda.
Garnish with a mint sprig, and slowly pour the liqueur over the leaves and the top of the drink.
*Housemade spiced rum: Add 1 stick of cinnamon, 5 crushed cloves and 3 crushed star anise to one 750 milliliter bottle of aged rum. Let steep for at least 12 hours or until desired flavor is achieved, then strain out solids.