Today I’m arguing in defense of cilantro.
Our country seems to be divided between those who hate and those who love this pungent herb. Some have been completely scared off by cilantro’s flavor–many say the herb tastes like soap, a phenomenon that may be genetic.
For me, cilantro is the new mint. I put it in salads, stews or sometimes just eat it raw. I’ll even admit there have been multiple dinner occasions when I have picked the herb out of a cilantro-hating friend’s meal.
Exchanging mint for cilantro adds a spicy kick to the classically sweet summer cocktail. And just like a traditional mojito, your flavor combinations are endless. Here’s three to get you started:
6–8 cilantro leaves
1 1/2 tablespoons rich cilantro simple syrup (recipe below)
1 1/2 ounces white rum
1/2 cup club soda or clear, citrus soda
Muddle cilantro simple syrup and cilantro leaves in the bottom of a glass. Add rum, juice from one lime, and ice. Garnish with a lime wedge.
For a pineapple cilantro mojito, use 1/2 tablespoon cilantro simple syrup and 1 tablespoon pineapple juice. Garnish with fresh pineapple slices.
For a jalapeno
cilantro mojito, use 2 tablespoons cilantro simple syrup and add jalapeno
slices to the mix. Note: careful,
this one’s hot!
To make rich* cilantro simple syrup:
2 parts sugar
1 part water
Cilantro sprigs, rinsed
2 cups sugar and 1 cup water yields 2 cups of cilantro simple syrup.
Bring water to a boil, then slowly add sugar. Stir continuously until the sugar is dissolved and remove pan from heat. Add in cilantro and stir, gently muddling the cilantro with your spoon.
Allow the mixture to completely cool before use and store in an airtight container. It will keep in the fridge for up to a month.
*Regular simple syrup
calls for 1 part sugar to one part water, but this thicker syrup is perfect for
cocktails and allows you to use less than many drink recipes normally call for.
Try a recipe for a watermelon mojito too.