Booze News: Tiki Tuesday causes mojito mania

Weather demands tropical drinks; use dark rum, brown sugar to create flavorful beverage

CHRIS WEST, Evergreen columnist

Have you ever wandered outside after a major thunderstorm or flood? You felt safe and sound inside the confines of your castle knowing Armageddon is happening, then when all is quiet, you cautiously step outside to survey the damage. This is what the Monday after Mom’s Weekend feels like.

So apparently, the gods of weather are f-cking up the Palouse, because as I see it, spring started a month ago and it is still freakin’ freezing outside. That being said, I have been really craving some tropical drinks over the past few weeks and felt it was time to get back to Tiki Tuesday. I plodded on down to Etsi Bravo in search of a mojito.

There I had the opportunity to talk to Ariana Barela, a bartender with a flair for making traditional drinks in different ways. While she is indeed creative with mixing, she does agree that you can’t beat a classic, even when it comes to rum.

“Typically, I stick to the more traditional, whiter side,” Barela said. “It’s just what I like. I do drink dark rum, but usually in other ‘more Tiki’ cocktails.”

Light or dark rum will always be a point of contention with me, especially when it comes to mojitos. Personally, I enjoy a good dark rum in my mojito, especially when just a pinch of brown sugar is thrown into the glass and muddled down with mint. More on that later.

Ariana on the other hand, as she said, is a traditionalist, at least when it comes to mojitos. So I had to ask her preferred spirit of choice for her mojitos.

“I typically do them with tequila,” Barela said.

This piqued my interest and I asked if she would make me something of her own choosing, while still sticking with my mojito theme.

So she made me a mojito using a French-style cane rum, rhum agricole, with a touch of velvet falernum, a typical key ingredient in Caribbean cocktails that tastes of lime, almond and vanilla. Then for a bubbly component, she added some prosecco, mixed with lime and mint, all shaken to a splashy, dazzling drink.

It was pretty good if I do say so myself. Just goes to show that you can’t go wrong for good drinks at Etsi Bravo. Especially on Tiki Tuesday, because sometimes we just feel like having a drink with a little umbrella in it, dammit!

When it comes to the classic drink of Cuba, there are so directions to take it. My personal favorite mojito is simple but has a touch of flavor. To make the Dark Mojito, simply take four teaspoons of brown sugar, 16 mint leaves and the juice of one and a half limes (big ones), and muddle that down softly. Then add ice and four ounces of your favorite dark rum. I prefer Mount Gay Rum; it’s easy and inexpensive and extremely tasty. Shake it up and pour it into a tall glass and fill the rest up with club soda.

We’re drawing close to the end of the year, folks. This means summer vacation and drinks a-plenty with no consequences of waking up hungover. That being said, stay safe out there, you drunken bastards, and bottoms up!