Papercut and colored pencil art by Sheryl Aronson X 5

Monday, July 2, 2012

Mojito Water

A mojito is a popular drink around here, especially in the summer. It has mint, lime, rum, sugar, soda and ice. I don't drink much alcohol, but I do drink quite a bit of water. I have found that if I flavor my water, I am more likely to drink adequate amounts each day. The past two summers, my favorite drink was water with mint and lemon verbena from my garden, and a little bit of Xylitol. Xylitol is a natural sugar that is actually good for you. It is safe for diabetics to use, because it is metabolized by the body differently from sucrose. It keeps plaque-forming bacteria from adhering to the teeth, so look for gum and candy sweetened with Xylitol. One drawback with Xylitol is that in large quantities, for some people, it can cause upset stomach and diarrhea. I recommend using it, but start slowly to avoid the above-mentioned GI problems.
My mint survives from year to year, so I have a large 'crop' of it in my garden. The lemon verbena I have to plant new each year, because it does not survive our cold winters. I don't like to use the leaves from the plant until it is well established, so I was looking for a substitute. I found a bag of small limes very inexpensive at my grocery store, and decided to try making 'mojito water'.
In a 48 ounce pitcher, I put 8-10 gently crushed sprigs of mint, about 50 leaves altogether. I cut two limes in half, remove the seeds, and squeeze the juice into the pitcher, and throw two of the lime 'shells' into the pitcher after squeezing them. (I like the taste of lime peel, but all four 'shells' is too strong for me. Omit the 'shells' if you don't like the taste of citrus peel.) I toss in 1 1/2-2 heaping teaspoons of Xylitol, and fill up the pitcher with water. Stir the mixture, and let it sit to 'marinate' for a half hour or so. Stir before pouring, and each time you pour more to drink. Some days I put the pitcher in the refrigerator, other days I don't, depending on weather and mood. If you like yours refrigerated, let it sit out for about 15 minutes to let the Xylitol dissolve first.
This mojito water is refreshing, healthful, and a fun way to keep yourself hydrated in summer. You can serve it to company, or keep it all for yourself. Since I am the only one drinking this concoction, it suffices for a full day. Sometimes I will reuse the mint leaves, adding more lime, Xylitol and water. If there is any left at the end of the day, I do put it in the refrigerator over night. You can adjust the amounts of the ingredients for your own taste. My mint is fairly mild, if using a stronger mint, less might taste better.

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