When we first bought our little house, a little over nine years ago now, we inherited a very badly neglected garden that was mostly weeds.
Over the course of our first year, we discovered a few hardy gems that had managed to hang in there: an ancient gnarly old lilac bush, several patches of bearded irises, two peach trees, a big hydrangea with poofy pink blossoms, and the sturdy nectarine tree that stands guard beside our front door.
My favourite of all, though, is the little raspberry patch we discovered beside the garden gate. Somehow, it actually manages to thrive despite my slapdash approach to gardening, which falls somewhere between benign neglect and enthusiastic ineptitude. They keep coming back bigger each year, producing prodigious quantities of juicy bright red berries.
This year, though, our little raspberry patch totally outdid itself with the bumper crop to end all bumper crops. I'm talking massive quantities of plump raspberries, so big and juicy and red that they could pass for Swedish Berries.
Despite my best efforts to cram those perfect raspberries into my mouth as fast I could pick them (and a little help from our friendly neighbourhood squirrels, who also gobbled up their fair share), I had more than enough to make a batch of Raspberry-Cocoa Jam from Amy Bronee's new cookbook and a double batch of raspberry cordial to last us through the dreary winter months.
And even after all that epic raspberry binge, I still had enough left over to whip up these gorgeous ruby-hued raspberry mojitos. I'd say that's the kind of achievement that deserves a toast, don't you?
- 1 ½ cups sugar
- 1 cup water
- 2 limes
- 1 cup fresh mint leaves
- 8 fresh raspberries
- 2 lime wedges
- 10 leaves fresh mint
- 2 oz white rum
- 1 oz Lime-Mint Simple Syrup
- Soda water, to taste
- Fresh raspberries, for garnish
- Lime slices, for garnish
- In a medium saucepan set over medium-high heat, stir together the sugar and water until the sugar dissolves. Simmer for 5 minutes.
- Using a vegetable peeler, cut four thick strips of zest from the limes. Cut the limes in half and squeeze the juice into the syrup, then stir in the strips of lime zest and fresh mint leaves.
- Simmer the syrup 2 minutes longer, then remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature.
- Once the syrup is cooled, strain into a glass jar and discard the solids. Cover tightly and set aside until ready to use. (Prepared syrup can be stored in the fridge for up to 4 weeks.)
- Divide the berries, lime wedges and mint leaves between two highball glasses. Muddle together, the stir in the rum and simple syrup. Fill the glasses with ice, then top up with club soda to taste. Garnish with berries and lime slices, and serve.