Mint and Mojitos

mint I have never been much of a gardener (to say the least) but luckily my sister-in-law has quite the touch with plants. When I visited yesterday, she handed me a beautiful bunch of mint, and I went home to decide what to do with it.

I thought first to go making granita, which I might attempt today, but after the glow of the Munster match and the warmth of the sun in the afternoon, I decided to make a mojito.

It’s surely one of my favourite cocktails, and if you can’t get to Cuba and have fresh mint handy, it will give a lift to any day. By the way, I was quite pleased to see it on the drinks menu in Mackerel on my last trip to Dublin. Sadly, I had to drive home, so I had to pass on a lunchtime indulgence!


2 oz Rum (preferably Havana Club 7 year)

A bunch of mint

Juicy slice of lime

1-2 Tablspoon sugar

2 oz club soda or still water

Several ice cubes

Combine all the ingredients except the lime in a tall glass and stir vigourously to release the flavour of the mint. Squeeze in some lime juice, then drop in the lime slice. Stir again. There are those who would strain it, but I think it’s much more dramatic with the mint still in place, and although it might tickle the nose, the scent is divine! 

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Hot Chocolate for a Cold Day

Baile na BuaileI shouldn’t be in the office on a Saturday, but it’s snowing outside, and besides the plumber and refrigeration guy have come to try to fix our water chiller, showing such diligence on a Saturday, that here I am.

A couple of days ago, I found a blog called The Big Drought that made a mention of this site, and he talked about the hot chocolate he drank in our shop. Bittersweet chocolateGiven the weather, and given the fact the fellow’s off drink for the year, I thought I’d give up the recipe for our bittersweet hot chocolate.

It’s thick, rich, and not for the faint-hearted!

The ingredients are simple, but the process is important if you want a smooth result.

Murphys Bittersweet Hot Chocolate

125 g chocolate (good quality 70%)
500 ml milk
45 gm sugar (2 tablespoons + 1.5 teaspoons)

Chocolate1. Melt the chocolate in a double boiler or microwave.
2. Heat the milk and sugar together to about 45C and make sure the sugar is dissolved.
3. Add the warmed milk to the melted chocolate in small parts, mixing all the time, to create a smooth emulsion.
4. Warm to drinking temperature (55C).
5. Garnish with grated chocolate and/or whipped cream and enjoy!

Four servings.


Hot Chocolate1. The quality will really depend on the quality of chocolate that you use. I suggest Valrhona, Callebaut, or Lindt dark chocolate.

2. The amount of sugar will vary depending on the chocolate. Obviously you can add more if you want it sweeter. Adding less won’t necessarily make it more “chocolate-y” as the taste buds need some sweetness to bring out the flavour of the chocolate.

3. See also Chocolate and Chocolate Sauce

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