(Note: As I may have mentioned
Those of you who know Mr. Logical personally know that he is a man of diverse interests. In addition to his well-documented passion for cycling, he also rock climbs, brews his own beer, and can play a mean game of squash. He also can make seriously good mojitos. However, up until a few days ago, it looked as though he would not be able to utilize this unique skill here in the Land of the Morning Calm - a state of affairs that was deeply troubling for both of us.
A mojito, for the uninitiated, is a traditional Cuban drink, made from
If you do not have a muddler, you can use the handle of a fork or a spatula or (if you are desperate) a plastic action figure to accomplish your muddling. However, using a muddling stick will guarantee that everyone will be impressed with your facility with a specialized piece of equipment. It will also give your guests ample opportunity to make (what they imagine to be) original and witty double entendres that relate in various ways to the words 'stick' and 'muddle.' This will keep everyone entertained, which is important, because mojitos do not get made quickly. Once the mojito is ready, it should be drunk with a straw, because if you try to drink it without a straw, you are likely to have lime segments and wet mint slide down the glass into your face when you tilt your glass. (This may happen anyway at some point in the evening, but you should start out with a straw.) Mojitos are also not recommended for first or second dates, due to the unfortunate tendency of smaller pieces of mint to get sucked into the straw and end up in your teeth. Of course, if the date is going badly, you have nothing to lose, and the rum will cheer you up.
Despite the fact that mojitos require extra work and specialized equipment, they are worth it, because they taste delicious and effectively disguise the fact that you're drinking a lot more rum than you are used to. They also leave your breath minty fresh, regardless of how many you drink, which is not something that can be said about beer.
The most important ingredient -after, of course, the rum - in any mojito is fresh mint. If you are used to buying your mint at the grocery store in little bunches, you will need to buy a lot of it if you are planning to serve more than one or two mojitos. ( Parsley and cilantro, while much easier to find, are poor replacements. Trust me on this.) So, yes, mint is a key ingredient. In fact, while I did not grow any other edible plants when we lived in Texas, I did cultivate an enormous pot of mint on the back deck. I gave it water, and it in turn, gave us mojitos. It was a symbiotic relationship.
Naturally, in the excitement of moving to Seoul, neither of us gave any thought to the question of the mint. But now that we have furniture, we'll want to be entertaining again, and at some point, we'll probably make mojitos. Obviously, the giant pot of mint from Texas did not make the journey with us, so we'll need an alternative. And, while Korean street vendors seem to purvey every other possible fruit, vegetable, and herb, finding mint has been something of a challenge. We have searched high and low, but mint has proved to be flora non grata here in Seoul. Besides, even if we could actually locate the mint, finding a place to cultivate it in our tiny yardless, balcony-less apartment would be a feat in itself.
Yes, these last few weeks have been shadowed by the mocking spectre of the elusive mint plant. We simply couldn't understand it. How could such a forward-thinking, sophisticated society lack something as basic as mint? And, more importantly, how bad would mojitos made with dried mint leaves or, -worse - spearmint extract taste? It was a dark time for us, as we slouched miserably each evening in our camp chairs, staring moodily out the window at the rainclouds wreathing Namsan Tower and contemplating Life Without Mojitos.
And then, when it seemed all hope was lost, just last week we happened across two little unassuming pots of mint - glorious mint! - tucked into the back of the display of houseplants on the pavement outside the commissary. These little pots lifted our hearts, brightened our day, and put the spring back into our steps. We bought them immediately, took them home, and installed them as residents on the sunny ledge in my laundry