Am I the only one who is in total disbelief that June is already coming to an end?! How is July 4th weekend already upon us?!
Please, tell me I’m not the only one. While I do my best to savor every second and live in the moment as best I can, I can’t help but be overwhelmed with how quickly time passes by. I know I’ve said this 100 times already, but having a small child compounds this problem times infinity. Look, I just did math.
While math is not my strongest suit, cocktail creating is something I can definitely pull off! To start your July 4th festivities early, I highly recommend that you try out these spiced up watermelon mojitos today (err, or tonight. Drinking these at 9 am may not be the best life choice). They’re half traditional + half totally unexpected = 100% delicious. Look, more math! I’m killing it today.
Now, I know mojitos may not be at the top of your July 4th BBQ must-make list. Because, let’s face it, they’re kind of high maintenance with all the lime juicing and mint muddling and such. BUT! They’re one of my most favorite cocktails, and sure, cracking open a bottle of beer or pulling out a pitcher of make-ahead sangria may be easier, but these mojitos are DELICIOUS, so fun, and totally worth the extra effort. Pinky promise.
The best mojito of my life was consumed approximately 10 years ago. Kinda sad that I haven’t found one to top it, right? Well, take all this with a grain of salt. I was already three sheets to the wind when I tasted said mojito and was in dire need of post-dance-floor hydration, and so I ordered the $20 pear mojito (that’s some straight-up 22-year-old reasoning right there). And while this wasn’t the best choice for my wallet at the time, it was, hands down, the most delicious alcoholic concoction I’d ever tasted. It was like biting into the most perfect, juicy, ripe pear. It was sweet, fruity, minty, and citrusy all at once. SO. GOOD. I think I had two more before the night was done, but I can’t be too sure…because…well…three sheets to the wind, remember?
I have tried time after time to create that perfect mojito. None has come close thus far. Until these babies.
These watermelon mojitos are completely different from that perfect pear mojito but just as mouthwatering. They’re incredibly refreshing without being overly sweet, and they pack a lot of minty freshness with a hint of spicy heat from ginger-infused simple syrup. Oh, and let’s not forget the watermelon. Only my most favorite thing on earth to eat (or drink) in the summertime. As soon as Memorial Day comes around each year, I’m eating a watermelon a week for the next couple months. It’s my go-to snack on a hot day.
So, naturally, it would end up in mojito form before the summer’s end. And it just so happens, that me sharing this with you all today is perfect timing with the upcoming July 4th weekend. While these mojitos aren’t as traditionally/stereotypically all-American as a can of Budweiser, they’re way cuter and more festive. And what better time to be festive than the fourth of July?!
I’m telling you, making mojitos, despite the extra effort, is really simple. They’re not complicated and don’t require a bajillion-dollar liquor stash. All you need is rum, simple syrup (flavoring is optional), seltzer, fresh mint, and fresh lime juice. All other add-ins are optional. Oh, and for the record: you can totally make this recipe in a larger batch. I’ve included a recipe below for a couple cocktails as well as a whole pitcher. The only disclaimer I’ll give about the pitcher method is that I find it is still best to put extra mint and lime juice in each individual glass AS WELL AS in the pitcher itself. Because unless you have those two things in your glass, you’re not really drinking a mojito. Truth.
If you can spare an extra 15 minutes, chop up some watermelon and muddle it along the mint and limes. You’re already doing the muddling anyway. It’s not that much more work. And the ginger and mint simple syrup? All that entails is steeping fresh ginger and a bunch of mint in the syrup that you already made to begin with. No excuses people. We’re celebrating ‘Merica, after all.
My 22-year-old self would have downed one (or three?) of these all too easily. And even she would have been pressed to say that the pear mojito was still #1.
Great. Now I’m back to feeling 100 years old with no concept of where the last 10 years went.
WAH. Pour me a (pitcher of) mojito, please.
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
3-inches fresh ginger, peeled and sliced into discs
1 bunch fresh mint
½ cup watermelon chunks
Juice of 2 limes
Ginger-mint simple syrup, to taste
Fresh mint sprigs
4 oz light rum
1 oz ginger liqueur
Ginger ale (or seltzer) for topping off the glasses
Watermelon balls, for garnish
Lime slices, for garnish
Extra mint sprigs, for garnish
Place the sugar and water in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for a few minutes or until the sugar is completely dissolved. Add the ginger and mint to the pot, turn off the heat, and allow the ginger and mint to steep in the syrup until it is cooled to room temperature.
Strain out the ginger and mint and discard. Store the syrup in an airtight container in the fridge until you are ready to use it. Store leftover syrup refrigerated for up to two weeks.
Divide the watermelon chunks and lime juice between two glasses. Add a drizzle of the syrup and a couple fresh mint leaves to each glass.
Muddle everything together well with a muddler or the handle of a wooden spoon/spatula.
Add ice to each glass and then pour 2 oz of rum and ½ oz of the ginger liqueur into each glass.
Top off each glass with ginger ale or seltzer. Garnish with watermelon balls, lime slices, and additional mint sprigs.
Combine 1 large bunch of mint and the juice of 8-10 limes in the bottom of a large pitcher. Muddle together until the mint is fragrant. Add in 2 cups of chunked watermelon and muddle again. Add in 1 cup of the ginger-mint simple syrup, ½ cup of the ginger liqueur, and 1½ cups light rum, stirring well to combine. Chill the mixture until party time.
Just before serving, pour in a 1-L bottle of club soda or seltzer and stir to combine. Serve in glasses with ice, additional lime juice, lime wedges or slices, and additional fresh mint.
One pitcher will serve 8-10.