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 or even just a front porch on a sunny afternoon. However, unless you’re lucky enough to live in its birthplace of Cuba or another tropical locale, chances are a good part of your year involves less sun and more clouds, rain, and even snow and ice. But that should absolutely not stop you from drinking a Mojito, especially if it’s a rich and botanical variation like the Winter Mojito.
This particular variation come from Eden Laurin, a food and beverage consultant and a managing partner at Chicago’s famous The 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 or white sugar 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 a few opportunities. For one, high quality aged rums are generally more affordable than a spiced rum of the same quality. But more importantly, it allows you to control 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 brings the drink closer to 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 ounce soda water, to top
- 1 barspoon Licor 43 liqueur
- 1 mint sprig
- Garnish: mint sprig
Add the rum, lime juice and syrup into a shaker with ice and shake until well-chilled.
Drop the mint sprig in the bottom of a Collins glass, add fresh ice, and strain the drink over the top. Top with the soda water.
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 ground cloves and 3 ground 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.