Rum and I recently made nice, after a long period of not speaking, following some bad experiences in younger days with the unfortunate combination of Malibu and pineapple juice in excess. Ah, youth.
It didn't seem fair to write off a type of alcohol forever, so a quick trip to Spec's saw me home with a nice big bottle of Flor de Caña Nicaragua extra-dry white rum. That wasn't long ago, and the bottle is now about two-thirds full. The culprit? Dead simple but very satisfying mojitos. Even my beer-drinking guy friends asked for refills on Memorial Day.
Hardly rocket science, this is still a drink to keep in your back pocket, because you can make the "base" ahead of time and finish quickly when guests arrive (or when you get thirsty). Lots of fresh lime and mint are the key to a tasty mojito--if your limes are a little dry, microwave them for about 30 seconds to get the juices going.
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In a large pitcher, bruise the mint with a fancy muddler or just the back of a wooden spoon. Squeeze the lime quarters into the pitcher and dump them in. Smush (this is, in fact, a technical term) the mixture around again with the spoon.
Pour in the rum and simple syrup, then top with the sparkling water. If you want to make this ahead of time, hold off on the sparkling water until you're ready to drink.
Serve the mojitos over ice, with an extra lime wedge perched adorably on the side of the each glass.