A Cuban classic, the mojito is a refreshing mix of rum, mint and lime juice with a bubbly finish. Its sweet herbaceousness equals summer in a sip. Mixologist Sanda Costello, co-owner of both Bowtie Catering and The Citizen Bar & Kitchen, enjoys creating new cocktails based on classic recipes by using fresh ingredients. Similar to the way she approaches building a rotating menu at The Citizen by adding European flair and seasonal ingredients to create dynamic dishes, Sanda is mindful of layering tastes in her drinks. Her tip for building the best cocktail is to mind the order of the pour. First, start strong with your base spirit, then add enhancers—a dash of a secondary liquor. Mixers, such as sweet or sour juices come next. Finally, comes the "topper" of soda, Champagne or other splashes of effervescence.
"We, for the most part, work with classics but add a twist like infusing or smoking the alcohol," Sanda says. "On a warm summer night, I add raspberries."
The Citizen Mojito
10 large mint leaves
1 sugar cube (or blue agave nectar)
2 1/2 ounces barrel-aged rum
1 tablespoon lime juice
Fresh mint and sliced wheels of lime for garnish
Muddle mint, add next ingredients, top with soda water and enjoy!