Labor Day fast approaches and the trees started changing color a couple of weeks ago, but we still have some summer-like weather ahead of us here in Vermont. Here are a couple of refreshing drinks to make with the last of your garden's mint to keep you cool through outdoor work and play on hot Indian Summer days.
Friends trying out Prevention's "Flat Belly Diet" had raves for this daily drink. I like to add a 1/2 tsp turmeric for extra anti-inflammatory power and a tiny bit of stevia or agave nectar for sweetening.
2 quarts water
A couple of handfuls of fresh mint (about 12 leaves)
1 cucumber, peeled and sliced
1 teaspoon grated fresh ginger (or 1/2 tsp powdered)
1 sliced lemon (or about 1/4 cup lemon juice)
Add all the ingredients to the water and refrigerate overnight. Serve chilled. Sweeten with agave nectar if it's too tart.
Cuban Mojitos & "Fauxjitos"
A delicious and easy cocktail! Just omit the rum for a non-alcoholic version. This recipe is from Taste of Cuba.
1 teaspoon powdered sugar
Juice from 1 lime (2 ounces)
4 mint leaves
2 ounces white rum
2 ounces club soda
Place the mint leaves into a long mojito glass (often called a "collins" glass) and squeeze the juice from a cut lime over it. You'll want about two ounces of lime juice, so it may not require all of the juice from a single lime. Add the powdered sugar, then gently smash the mint into the lime juice and sugar with a muddler (a long wooden device pictured below, though you can also use the back of a fork or spoon if one isn't available). Add ice (preferably crushed) then add the rum and stir, and top off with the club soda (you can also stir the club soda in as per your taste). Garnish with a mint sprig.