When you think of a mojito your mind may conjure images of tropical beach vacations and lemongrass may be an ingredient you've only known in soups or curries, but mix these two together and you've got a killer cocktail.
Lemongrass is a big, pretty plant with stalks that are amazingly aromatic. Since they are woody near the base, you need to use a little muscle to release their flavors and aromas. But the effort is well worth it.
The middle of fall is the right time for to harvest my giant lemongrass. Every summer I put new plant near our back porch because it's a natural mosquito repellent. Then come mid-October it's time to chop it all down. In a short growing season these plants get big, so there're a lot of delicious stalks to share. For this year's harvest I figured I might as well throw some of it into cocktails for to enjoy while working. The results were delicious, refreshing and perfect whether you need to relax or are looking for something to pair with a spicy dish.
In a tall glass, muddle the mint leaves and simple syrup. Add a smashed lemongrass stalk (use a rolling pin to smash the end a bit before putting into the shaker). Add ice, lime juice and rum and stir. Top with sparkling mineral water. Garnish with a lime wheel and mint sprig.
*To make lemongrass simple syrup, put 1 cup of sugar and 1 cup of water and 1 chopped lemongrass stalk in a small saucepan and bring to a simmer. Cook until sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat and cool completely. Strain out lemongrass before using.