Here’s a distinctive variation of the mojito cocktail.
To begin, I am the dream customer for product packagers. I see something on the shelf and I’m very likely to grab it without fully understanding what that product really is. But the packaging is so seductive that I succumb.
It can be embarrassing. In a liqueur store, I saw a bottle of something called Tuaca, with a complicated brownish something label, and the name sounded South American to me. This had to be a cousin of Kahlua and I’m always up for a cocktail experiment.
Only when I got home did I read the label. Italian liqueur. A very good liqueur. Mythology has the recipe for this golden substance dating back to the Renaissance. The liqueur is bottled in Livorno Italy by families who, of course, guard their recipe. The base is brandy, augmented with orange and vanilla flavors, plus certainly some herbs and spices. The dominant flavor is said by many to be vanilla but I find it richer than that. Straight up, without ice, you sense a Scotch or Drambuie flavor. Over ice, or over ice cream, it is refreshingly potent.
To increase their sales, the website at www.tuaca.com has added a number of cocktail recipes. Their version of the mojito, dubbed a Tuacito, is presented below. It’s very interesting for multiple reasons. First, I appreciate the honesty of the Tuaca firm. Rather than base the drink strictly on their liqueur, they keep the rum base for the mojito and use Tuaca just to modify the flavor. And the modification is significant. The high mint flavor of the mojito is muted in this drink, not dulled, just pushed into the background. The vanilla and herb overtones of the Tuaca combine with that mint to create a more complex, yet smooth cocktail.
This is a delicious drink and I invite you to give it a try. I’ll be testing other cocktails from the Tuaca website and giving you updates. Here I’ve modified the proportions a bit from the original. Their recipe calls for proportions by “part” which I take to mean “1 ounce.” I consider the club soda to be optional, to be added only if you desire to slightly mute the strength of the cocktail.
Yield: 1 cocktail
1 part Tuaca liqueur
6-8 mint leaves
1part fresh=squeezed lemon juice
1 part simple sugar syrup
2 parts light rum
1 part club soda [optional]
Add the mint, lemon and sugar syrup to a shaker and lightly muddle. Add ice and all the remaining ingredients except for the soda. Shake and strain into a highball glass with fresh ice. Top with club soda if you desire. Garnish with a mint sprig and a lemon wheel
Source: Adopted from www.tuaca.com