Many bartenders have been faced with that ridiculous request for a Mojito “with only a little ice and none of that green leafy stuff” as the patron guffaws into their Jägerbomb. Now it’s almost understandable if they’ve been previously served a poor Mojito with bruised and slimy leaves stuffed into the bottom. With a well-made Mojito using fresh ingredients you should never have this problem. Previously, however, the poor barkeep had to explain to that patron that unfortunately two critical ingredients for that cocktail are indeed plenty of crushed ice and fresh mint…that’s what gives the cocktail its ‘little magic’.
Now however thanks to our friend, science, we have a solution. There are two methods for creating a mint-less (and potentially ice-less) mojito. The first is using the sous-vide technique borrowed from the kitchen. We’ll be covering sous-vide cocktails in a future article, which leaves us with our second technique: the dry-ice muddle.
Muddle in a Japanese Mixing Glass to keep everything tidy.
Dry Ice muddling borrows techniques from Dave Arnold’s infamous nitro muddling technique, which he used to produce a Thai Basil Daiquiri. In dry ice muddling, much like using liquid nitrogen, the leaves are dry-frozen which shatters the leaf’s cell structure. This shattering releases all the chemicals within the leaf that give them their distinct fragrance and flavour. It’s important for safety reasons to only use a powdered form of Dry Ice (such as JetChill’s) otherwise you won’t achieve the same effect (and be left with potentially dangerous pieces of dry ice). After a vigorous muddle with the powdered dry ice you should find you’ve produced a fine green powder, similar to Matcha Green Tea.
Add whatever concoction you want to the powder, we went for an Elderflower cocktail mix we pre-batched.
The green powder will still have dry ice powder mixed in it so it’s important to take your time with the next few steps to allow it to dissipate. The upside is that when you add your ingredients to the mixing glass you’ll get a very theatrical fog effect as the dry ice sublimes and chills the drink.
A tea strainer (or two) is perfect for serving the cocktail safely.
Once your ingredients have all been added — at this point it’s up to you whether you want to shake or not, it depends if all your liquids are pre-chilled — you can fine or double-strain the mixture into your glass. There are two reasons for this, firstly it removes any larger pieces of leaf that might have remained in your mixture, secondly it ensures that no residual dry ice should make it into the glass.
The finished product.
If done properly there should only be a few flecks of green powder in the bottom of the cocktail but you’ve managed to impart all of the flavour of the herbs. This leaves (get it?) a much more pleasant cocktail to drink without worrying about looking like you have a big gap in your teeth on photos. Problem solved… now get back to your Jägerbombs.