Moroccan Mojitos


I often notice bartenders tasting cocktails before serving them to customers. They stick a straw in the glass, stop up the straw with a finger, and lift the liquid-filled straw to their lips, usually pronouncing the beverage in question adequately quaffable before sliding it across the bar to a waiting customer.

But I’m realizing that tasting is just as important for bartenders as it is for cooks, as bar ingredients can vary in flavor just like those in the kitchen. Case in point, when developing this recipe, I mixed up a pitcher using 6 tablespoons of lime juice to get the drink just tart enough. The limes in question were on the yellow side, yellow actually being a sign of a ripe lime. They were also generous with their juice, and the finished drinks tasted perfectly balanced to my palate. The next time I made a batch, I invited a friend over. She (very tactfully) suggested that the drinks were quite tart. I realized that she was spot on, and that this time the strength of the lime overpowered the other, more subtle flavors of black tea, cardamom and rose.

It’s a drink based on a Moroccan Mojito recipe from Aziza that I found in an issue of Bon Appetit about 8 years ago. (Here’s the original.) Made with cardamom, orange liqueur, lemon juice, and dark rum in addition to the usual mojito suspects, it became by favorite drink for several summers.

How to Make Moroccan Mojitos

This cocktail fuses two of my favorite drinks: Moroccan mint tea and Cuban mojitos, all kissed with cardamom and rosewater. Since citrus fruits vary in tartness, start with the smaller amount of lime and lemon juice and add more to taste. I use Matusalem white rum and The Kraken dark rum here. If you wish to forgo the caffeine, use a decaffeinated black tea (green and oolong teas are too subtle in flavor). All ounce measurements are by volume.

Makes 4 drinks

Ingredients : 
  • 2 tablespoons black tea, such as English Breakfast
  • 20 cardamom pods, crushed
  • boiling water (see instructions)
  • 3 tablespoons (organic cane) sugar
  • 3/4 cup packed spearmint leaves, plus extra for garnish
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh lime juice
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 5 ounces (1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons) white rum
  • 1 ounce (2 tablespoons) dark rum
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons rosewater
  • ice
  • sparkling water
Instrctions : 

1. Make the cardamom tea concentrate:
  • Place the tea and crushed cardamom pods in a heatproof measuring cup, and add boiling water to bring the mixture to the 3/4 cup mark. Let steep 10-20 minutes. (If finishing the drinks later, strain the tea mixture into a jar, squeezing the liquid out of the tea, and chill. The mixture may become cloudy; this is fine.
2. Finish the mojitos:
  • Meanwhile, muddle the mint leaves and sugar together in another measuring cup to bruise the mint. Add the lime and lemon juices, starting with the smaller amounts; stir to dissolve the sugar.
  • When the tea has steeped, strain it into the mint mixture, squeezing the tea and cardamom pods to extract all the liquid.
  • Strain the mint/tea mixture into a pitcher, squeezing the leaves to extract all the liquid. Stir in the white and dark rums and the rosewater. Taste, adding additional lime and lemon juice if you like.
  • Fill four large tumblers with ice and several mint leaves. Divide the cocktail mixture among the glasses, leaving room for sparkling water. Top each with a bit of sparkling water, stir, and serve.


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