Preparing a Great Mojito Cocktail by Jeffrey Morgenthaler award-winning bartender

Photo: Alanna Hale Properly constructing a mojito takes both time and precision. It's well worth it!

Jeffrey Morgenthaler is an award-winning bartender and current bar manager at Portland, OR's Clyde Common. His writing and recipes have appeared in publications including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal and Wine Enthusiast. In honor of National Mojito Day, today, July 11, the following is an excerpt about the classic cocktail from Morgenthaler's recently released first bookThe Bar Book: Elements Of Cocktail Technique.

Sure, since the mojito became the most popular drink ever, once again, it’s also become popular for bartenders and self-described cocktail geeks to complain about it: It’s pedestrian, it’s the new Cosmo­politan, it takes too long to make.

But I remember a time when we were all just beginning to rediscover the mojito. And despite the fact that I’ve made literally thou­sands of them during the course of my career, I still have fond memories of those summers when we’d all gather in the kitchen while we waited for the grill to heat up and discovered the drink together, a new generation of mojito-lovers. It’s an amazing cocktail when it’s made right, and that’s all you really need to know.

Mojito Cocktail Recipec

1 bunch fresh spearmint (but regular mint will do the trick)
1/2 ounce 2:1 simple syrup (
read all about simple syrup here)
2 ounces white rum
1 ounce fresh lime juice, plus the spent lime half
crushed ice
2 ounces chilled soda water

  1. Put 12 or so large spearmint leaves in the bottom of a chilled pint glass and add the simple syrup.
  2. Muddle the spearmint gently to release the oils.
  3. Add the rum, lime juice and the spent lime half.
  4. Fill the glass with crushed ice and finish with the soda water.
  5. Serve with a straw.
Check out more mojito recipes on Food Republic:

Food Republic

Pastelon Bowl a Puerto Rican Favorite

Courtesy of:  @BonittoStudio
Pastelon is a Puerto Rican dish that resembles a lasagna. Amarillos (sweet plantains) replace noodles and picadillo replaces the traditional Italian-style filling. The dish is a tasty combination of sweet and salty. Picadillo can also be served in a variety of dishes such as over rice or in tacos and burritos, to name a few. Pastelon can also be made as a meat "pie" by grinding the plantains. Later on I will prepare one of these for the blog (and my belly), but for now I thought I'd take a stab at putting together a simpler bowl-verision. It incorporates the predominant flavors in traditional Pastelon, but it comes together much faster. For more recipes checkout The Almost Vegan Rican

Beefless Picadillo

2 12 oz packs of Trader Joe's Beef-less Ground Beef (or your beef substitute of choice)
1 medium yellow onion, diced
1 1/2 cups canned diced tomatoes
4 cloves garlic, diced
1/2 cup diced green bell pepper
a handful of manzanilla olives
1/4 cup Goya Recaito
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp Goya Adobo Light (or to taste)
1 tbsp oil (vegetable or olive) or cooking spray


1. Coat the bottom of the caldero with oil.
2. Sautee onion, garlic and pepper until fragrant.
3. Add beef substitute and Adobo. Cook on medium-high for 3-5 minutes, stirring.
4. Add tomatoes, Recaito, oregano, olives. Once mixture begins to bubble, lower heat and cook another 5 minutes.

Serve in a bowl with Goya frozen amarillos, cooked according to package directions.

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Mexican Lasagna

Mexican Lasagna
Courtesy of: Taste of Home
I collect cookbooks and recipes (this one is from my son's mother-in-law). My husband teases me that I won't live long enough to try half of the recipes in my files! —Rose Ann Buhle, Minooka, Illinois Read more


2 pounds ground turkey or beef
1 can (16 ounces) refried beans
1 can (4 ounces) chopped green chilies
1 envelope taco seasoning
2 tablespoons hot salsa
12 ounces uncooked lasagna noodles
4 cups (16 ounces) shredded Colby-Monterey Jack cheese, divided
1 jar (16 ounces) mild salsa
2 cups water
2 cups (16 ounces) sour cream
1 can (2-1/4 ounces) sliced ripe olives, drained
3 green onions, chopped
1 medium tomato, chopped, optional


1.Preheat oven to 350°. In a large skillet, cook beef over medium heat until no longer pink; drain. Stir in beans, chilies, taco seasoning and hot salsa.

2. In a greased 13x9-in. baking dish, layer a third of the noodles and meat mixture. Sprinkle with 1 cup of cheese. Repeat layers twice. 

3. Combine mild salsa and water; pour over top. Cover and bake 1 hour or until heated through. 

4. Top with sour cream, olives, onions, tomatoes if desired and remaining cheese. Bake, uncovered, 5 minutes. Let stand 10-15 minutes before cutting. Yield: 12 servings. 
TOTAL TIME: Prep: 20 min. Bake: 65 min. + standing
MAKES: 12 servings

Originally published as Mexican Lasagna in Taste of Home Ground Beef Cookbook 1999, p228
For More Great Recipes visit a Taste of Home

Baked Chicken Chimichangas

Backed Chicken Chimichangas
Courtesy of: Taste of Home
I developed this quick and easy recipe through trial and error. I used to garnish with sour cream, too, but eliminated it in order to lighten the recipe. My friends all love it when I cook these, and they're much healthier than fried chimichangas. —Rickey Madden, Clinton, South Carolina Read more


1-1/2 cups cubed cooked chicken breast
1-1/2 cups picante sauce, divided
1/2 cup shredded reduced-fat cheddar cheese
2/3 cup chopped green onions, divided
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
6 flour tortillas (8 inches), warmed
1 tablespoon butter, melted


1.In a small bowl, combine the chicken, 3/4 cup picante sauce, cheese, 1/4 cup onions, cumin and oregano. Spoon 1/2 cup mixture down the center of each tortilla. Fold sides and ends over filling and roll up. Place seam side down in a 15-in. x 10-in. x 1-in. baking pan coated with cooking spray. Brush with butter. 

2. Bake, uncovered, at 375° for 20-25 minutes or until heated through. Top with remaining picante sauce and onions. Yield: 6 servings.

TOTAL TIME: Prep:  20 min. Bake: 20 min.
MAKES:  6 servings

Nutritional Facts

1 chimichanga equals 269 calories, 8 g fat (3 g saturated fat), 39 mg cholesterol, 613 mg sodium, 31 g carbohydrate, 1 g fiber, 17 g protein. Diabetic Exchanges: 2 lean meat, 1-1/2 starch, 1 vegetable, 1/2 fat.

Originally published as Baked Chicken Chimichangas in Healthy Cooking December/January 2009, p64
For More Great Recipes visit a Taste of Home

Crema Habanero Refried Beans

Santiago® Refried Beans mixed with minced habanero, cilantro, green onions and spices, finished with Mexican-style sour cream.

At a glance
Main Ingredient
Cuisine Type
Menu Part

Yield: 40


2 pkg Santiago® Refried Beans (any type), prepared
2 cups Mexican-style crema or sour cream
1 cup Cilantro, chopped
⅓ cup Green onions, thinly sliced
1 Tbsp Habanero pepper, seeded, minced*
3 tsp Cumin, ground


  1. Prepare Santiago® Refried Beans according to package directions in a full-steamtable pan. Hold in a steamtable or warming cabinet until fully refreshed.
  2. Fold in crema, cilantro, green onions, habanero and cumin, mixing thoroughly.
  3. Cover and hold, about 5 min. Place in steamtable and serve.
  4. * Can substitute other peppers such as chipotle, jalapeno or serrano.