This week, in celebration of the arrival of warm-weather drinks season (Pimm's Cups, Margaritas, Gin and Tonics, Daiquiris!), I thought I'd expand my repertoire a little and try out a new recipe. So I turned to a book with lots of fresh cocktail ideas: Organic, Shaken and Stirred by Paul Abercrombie.
One drink in particular caught my eye, the Green Tea Mojito. With its simple list of ingredients: green tea, fresh lime juice, sugar, mint, and white rum, this looked like a recipe I could get started on right away. I had everything I needed on hand at home - except fresh mint.
I headed out to my local market but was disappointed to find that the store only had one small clamshell package of mint left - and that every one of the leaves inside looked limp and withered. What's a Mojito without muddled fresh mint leaves? I'd have to search out another supermarket and try my luck there. But then it occurred to me that a solution might lie closer to home: I live a few doors down from a Japanese grocery. Could I substitute shiso leaves instead?
Often referred to as "Japanese basil," shiso (also known as perilla or beefsteak plant) has a savory, slightly spicy flavor comparable to basil's, and its leaves have a slightly furred texture similar to that of mint. I'd tried it out before in a Mojito variation using yuzu fruit. Why not in this variation with green tea?
The results were delicious. The green tea blended beautifully with the herb - and with the rum, sugar, and lime juice. With only an ounce of rum, and an ample pour of iced green tea, this recipe is light and refreshing and not too boozy. Perfect for a late spring afternoon.
Next time I'll have to try it with mint.
Green Tea Mojito
(adapted from Organic, Shaken and Stirred by Paul Abercrombie)
makes one drink
1 tablespoon fresh lime juice
4 large mint leaves (I substituted 1 shiso leaf, torn into several large pieces)
2 teaspoons sugar
approx. 1/2 cup brewed green tea, chilled
1 ounce white rum
Muddle the lime juice, mint (or shiso), and sugar together in a Collins glass until the leaves bruise lightly and the flavors release. Add ice until glass is about 3/4 full and then pour in rum and green tea. Stir thoroughly.
To serve as a pitcher drink: Multiple the ingredients by the number of guests. Muddle the lime juice, mint, and sugar. Combine with the green tea and white rum in a pitcher and stir to combine. Refrigerate until ready to serve.
Apartment Therapy Media makes every effort to test and review products fairly and transparently. The views expressed in this review are the personal views of the reviewer and this particular product review was not sponsored or paid for in any way by the manufacturer or an agent working on their behalf. However, the manufacturer did give us the product for testing and review purposes.
Nora Maynard is a longtime home mixologist and an occasional instructor at NYC's Astor Center. She is a contributor to The Business of Food: Encyclopedia of the Food and Drink Industries and is the recipient of the American Egg Board Fellowship in culinary writing at the Writers' Colony at Dairy Hollow. She previously covered food and drink in film at The Kitchn in her weekly column, The Celluloid Pantry.
(Images: Nora Maynard)