Mixologist Nathan O’Connell has put nine years into his craft, with stints everywhere from Leicester and Northampton to the Caribbean and Australia. He’s been working at the Cosy Kettle, Somers Town’s secret subterranean speakeasy on Chalton Street for eight months, its low-key interior – a mish-mash of eclectic colours and textures – the ideal backdrop to dream up new pairings, and his own takes on the classics.
Creating a simple mojito“Take a couple of teaspoons of brown sugar, and put four wedges of lime on top of it. The acid breaks down the sugar easier.
Muddle with the back of a wooden spoon and make sure it’s all completely dissolved. Add about eight to twelve mint leaves depending on their size. Continue to muddle and then add crushed ice until the glass is almost full. Crush ice at home yourself with a tea towel on a wooden floor – but never on soft tiles as they might crack. Or better still, buy a manual hand-crusher which takes a handful at a time and works the same way as a sausage grinder.
Here at the Cosy Kettle we use a double shot of Havana Club Especial (you could try Captain Morgan’s Spiced for something cheaper, although it might be a bit too sweet for some palates).
Now bring the sugar, mint and lime from the bottom all the way up: the quickest way to do it is get the back of a bar spoon and pummel it. Some people top with soda, but I really don’t like that, it’s just a filler; much better to top up with a bit more crushed ice. Finally, garnish with mint.
Tip: The muddle is the most important bit to make it all level and bring the flavour up. Don’t forget to use nice fresh lime and mint, and brown, not white, sugar.