In the minty month of May
May brings the assurance of summer. Not the summer of heat and humidity (both in the 90s) and crawly things in the house (not just the children) but the summer of lighter refreshment – cooling beverages that please the palate.

Our good neighbors up in Louisville, Ky., have made the Mint Julep the centerpiece of their annual May Derby celebrations. We too, have access to fresh mint, particularly robust at this time of year, and enjoy bourbon whenever someone else is buying.
Still, we’re not Old South enough to stake a claim to bourbon. Except for the street, which was named after a family, not a drink served with branch water, bourbon doesn’t hold a singular fascination with our populace.

Now rum is a different matter. Made from sugar cane, which surrounds us, and historically rooted in the Caribbean, of which we are the northernmost province, New Orleans and rum drinks go together like Blaine Kern and foil tinsel.

Michael Brewer of Commander’s Palace enjoys mojitos, a rum drink first concocted in Havana. The name means “little sauce,” and refers to the muddled base of fresh lime, simple syrup and ice.

Classic Mojito
2 oz. 10 Cane Rum
1 oz. Fresh Squeezed Lime Juice
1 oz. Simple Syrup
8-10 Mint Leaves
Splash of Club Soda
Garnish: Mint Sprig

Place mint leaves and simple syrup in the bottom of a tall glass. Press gently with a muddler. Fill with cracked ice. Add rum and lime juice. Stir gently and top off with soda. Garnish with a mint sprig.