Summer Coolers

By Angela Denstad Stigeler

 

Summer is heating up, and just starting to stretch out its long hours of sunlight. In fact, there’s just enough extra daytime to make one think of sitting for a spell with a nice cool drink. What better way to savor the extra leisure summer is meant to afford?

A classic hot weather drink is the ever-popular Cuban mojito [mo-HEE-to], a refreshing concoction which is rather like a cross between a rum-based mint julep and a limeade. To keep this drink kid-friendly, you can simply skip the rum. Or if you’d like an extra cooling summer drink, add some cucumber slices. For the most refreshing hot-weather hydrator, try the no-rum version with cucumber. It’s a very sophisticated sipper that can be whipped up in minutes. So whether or not you put the ‘heat’ in your mojito, you’ll find all the versions of this recipe to be great ways to chill out this summer!

 

Traditional Mojito or Summer Cooler

 

(4 servings)

3 limes

30-40 fresh mint leaves

6 tablespoons sugar

4 cups ice

6 ounces white rum (optional)

2-3 cups club soda

cucumber slices (optional)

 

Thinly slice one lime and place the slices in a pitcher, along with the mint leaves and sugar. Use a muddler or a wooden spoon to crush the lime and mint, until the sugar is all moistened and begins to resemble a paste. Juice the other two limes and add the juice to the mixture, stirring until the sugar is dissolved. Add the ice to the pitcher, then pour the rum (if using) over the ice. Fill the pitcher with club soda and stir until well combined.

For a non-alcoholic summer cooler, omit the rum and place a thin slice of cucumber in each glass. Pour the drink over it, garnishing with extra lime or cucumber slices as desired.

 

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