I was recently flipping through Dale Degroff's The Essential Cocktail: The Art of Mixing Perfect Drinks, reading his endless mouthwatering cocktail recipes and getting the urge to whip something up. When I got to his mojito recipe, something stuck me—he suggests that a mojito should taste like adult mint limeade, as easy drinking as can be. It seems so obvious, but to me, the quintessential summer drinks are all about the fresh flavors of what's in season&mdsah;the alcohol is simply a supporting element. With that in mind, I created a drink that fully embraces the sweet flavor of strawberries paired with mint.
In order to let the strawberries shine, I decided to use one of the most underused alcohols when it comes to making cocktails—sake. I used Sho Chiku Bai Junmai Gingo which is produced in California. It's a clean, smooth sake with hints of fruit that's delicious on it's own, but it provides a perfect light base for cocktails as well.
To keep from getting chunks of strawberries in every sip, I muddled the strawberries until they were completely disintegrated. One sip of this drink and there's no question what season it is—it's time to take advantage of as many strawberries as you can.
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About the author: Kelly Carámbula blogs about her adventures in the kitchen, including a weekly happy hour, on eat make read. She is also the founder and publisher of Remedy Quarterly, an independent food journal.