After an evening run, hosting a post-workout cocktail party is a great way to wind down! It’s easiest if you have one fancy cocktail to anchor the festivities. A make-your-own-mojito bar allows guests to make the classic mojito—rum, lime, mint and soda—or try mixing and matching with fruit for added nutrition and deliciousness. For those who haven’t previously made a mojito, it’s helpful if someone demonstrates to show how to use a muddler, which gently mashes and draws flavor from the fruit and mint. Here’s the basic set-up and ingredients you’ll need. Have fun!
Limes: You’ll need lots of them. Juice in juicer or press and place in 2 quart-size mason jars or pitchers. Chill until ready. (Do not be tempted to use a bottled lime juice!)
Mint: You’ll also need lots of fresh mint, 3 or 4 large bunches. Wash, dry with paper towels and place in a wide bowl. Refrigerate wrapped in paper towels, until ready.
Simple syrup: Combine 3 cups sugar with 3 cups boiling water and stir until clear. Cool, and store in 2 quart-size mason jars or pitchers. Label.
Rum: Buy a few bottles of your favorites. Light (white) rum here is slightly preferable to a dark rum.
St-Germain liqueur: A splash works especially well with the fruit-enhanced mojitos.
Fruit: Set out 2 or 3 varieties, such as strawberries, blackberries, cherries, kiwi, pineapple, peaches or apricots. Prep by rinsing and either pitting or hulling. Some sliced cucumbers also work nicely.
Your prepped ingredients: bowls of fruit and mint, and jars or pitchers of lime juice and simple syrup
Ice buckets: 1 or 2, filled
Bottles: Spirits plus club soda or sparkling water
Glasses: The best glass is a mojito or Collins glass, straight and tall, yet wide enough for muddling.
Other equipment: 3 or 4 muddlers, long bar spoons in a mason jar and a few jiggers for measuring
2 laminated copies: Many Miles Mojito recipe
TOOLS OF THE TRADE
A few basic tools can get you started on the delicious road to great cocktails at home.
1. Cocktail Shaker: Most professional bartenders use a two-piece set-up, referred to as the “Boston shaker,” typically with a 28-ounce metal bottom and a 16- or 18-ounce metal cup or glass that ﬁt together at a slight angle and allow the vigorous shaking of a cocktail. These often work better than the three-piece “cobbler” shakers with the narrow tops and built-in strainers, which strain more slowly and can be challenging to open.
2. Strainer: The “hawthorn” is an adjustable strainer that fits over most shaking glasses or tins to strain the liquid, leaving behind the ice, and any pieces of citrus, fruit or herbs. These are more versatile than the “julep” strainers, the large oval spoon with holes. Bartenders sometimes “double strain” using a second fine-mesh strainer, like a small tea strainer, to capture any finer bits like ginger or bits of herb.
3. Muddler: These range from wooden to stainless. We like the Oxo muddler ($15, target.com), which has a wide-bottom handle with textured grips.
4. Bar Spoons: These are long, slender spoons used for stirring cocktails in glasses, and easy mixing in taller Collins or mojito glasses. The small spoon also allows for measuring (⅛ of an ounce typically) or a quick taste of the cocktail for any final adjustments.
5. Measuring Spoons: Most bartenders use jiggers to count their ounces, but spoons work almost as well. (1 Tbsp. = 1/2 oz.)
6. Reamer: Citrus fruits are a popular cocktail additive as the acid of the fruit tempers the bite of the booze. A fork or a pair of close tongs can help you squeeze a lime or lemon, but a handheld reamer like this one will extract much more juice. A sturdy pressing juicer like the Chef’n FreshForce ($24, amazon.com) is also a solid investment. It fits right over the glass and makes quick work of juicing a lemon or lime.