In the middle of Southern California urban sprawl, there is a small strawberry patch next to the Costco. After shopping for her mother’s day gift, we were approached by a strawberry vendor hawking $5 cases of strawberries. Never to pass on a bargain, I couldn’t resist and bought a case.
For cocktails at the barbecue, we made a puree a few days before and combined it with my favorite summer time drink, mojitos. Besides, I wanted an excuse to use fresh mint which is spectacular this time of year and I had plenty on hand from making the lotus root salad.
Traditionally in Cuba, sugar cane juice is used instead of sugar and because we live in Southern California, freshly squeezed sugarcane juice is widely available in Little Saigon. If you haven’t been lucky enough to experience this nectar….you must–at least once in your life. Amazingly sweet and refreshing. If this isn’t available, use sugar.
- 1 qt fresh ripe strawberries
- 3 tbs Sugar
Clean and remove stems and quarter strawberries. Add to sugar and strawberries to blender and pulse to desired consistancy. I like mine a little chunky. Can be done in advance and frozen.
- 1 oz. fresh squeezed lime
- 1 tbs strawberry puree
- 2 oz. fresh sugarcane juice or 2 tsp sugar
- 5-10 mint leaves (save the tip of mint sprigs for garnish)
- 2 oz. white rum
- 1 oz. club soda
- crushed ice
First add the lime and sugar (in my case sugarcane juice) in a small cocktail glass and stir until sugar dissolves. Then add the mint leaves, gently muddle them with a pestle to release the mint oils. Do not over crush. If you don’t have a pestle, you can tear the mint leaves in half and gently swirl it in the lime mixture. Now add the strawberry puree and rum. Fill glass almost to top with crushed ice. Top off with a little bit of club soda. Gently stir, garnish, lounge and prepare to let life go by…
*To serve a crowd, increase amounts of mint, lime, sugar, rum, and strawberry puree and add to a pitcher. Pour mixture into glasses before topping the individual drinks with crushed ice and club soda.