Put your herb garden or farm share to work in your bar

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When July rolls around in Louisville with its caressing warmth, all you want is a steaming hot cocoa right? Sorry, that was mean. An ice cold cocktail starring refreshing lime and mint fits the bill when our town is swaddled in a heated damp wool blanket. Mojitos are my summer cocktail of choice, and my little herb garden makes them just a bit more interesting with the addition of basil. (I learned this purely by accident when I didn’t have enough mint, but it works!) You’ll want to make these in batches by the pitcher, as they’re sweet and go down easy. Here’s your shopping list: Light rum, like a Bacardi Several handfuls of fresh mint and basil. If you don’t grow it, get it at a farmer’s market or Lotsa Pasta or Paul’s Produce. Club soda Several limes (just buy a bag of them, you can use extras in salsa, for beer, or in lemonade) Sugar Ice I’ll give proportions not amounts so you can scale according to the size of your group and how much they drink. Mint and basil simple syrup (note, start this an hour or so before you need your drinks): Equal parts water, sugar and mint/basil leaves (one cup each is a good place to start) Heat water to just shy of boiling. Stir in sugar until it dissolves. Stir in mint and basil with a small wooden spoon. Add several ice cubes and stir gently. Let sit 30 minutes or so, then strain and refrigerate. While your syrup is infusing, juice several limes and set the juice aside. To make the mojitos, add to a shaker with ice: one part syrup, 1.5 to 2 parts rum and 1 part lime juice. Shake well. Pour into a chilled glass with ice, stir in several more mint and basil leaves and top with a splash of club soda. Cheers!
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