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Lychee Mojitos

August 15, 2013

Lychee MojitosPin it!

I love lychees (and longans and mangosteens and rambutans).

If you’re not sure what all of those are, you could google them… or better yet, go to your local Asian market, check the produce section, and taste them for yourself. Inside the distinct—and in the case of rambutans, downright bizarre—husks or peels is a translucent, juicy, sweet fruit that will transport you to Southeast Asia.

In countries like Singapore, Malaysia, Vietnam, and Taiwan, you can easily find these fruits for sale from street vendors. You can also enjoy lychee smoothies, or lychee-flavored “milk tea” milkshakes with boba tapioca bubbles.

Lychee MojitosPin it!

In fact, my first instinct when I found fresh lychees (the rarest of treats around here—for sale at Trader Joe’s of all places!) was to smoothie-fy them and toss in some boba. But I already had fresh mint in the house… and we always have limes… you can see where this is headed.

Making Lychee Mojitos

Lychee mojitos might sound like a weird fusion-y blend of SE Asia and the Caribbean, but believe me: it works.

Lychee MojitosPin it!

Not that mojitos (or any rum-based cocktails) are a regular occurrence around here… in fact, I have a shaky history with rum, extending back (of course) to my college days.

Making Lychee Mojitos

I used to be embarrassingly into piña coladas. I even went so far as to keep a blender and a mini fridge in my dorm room so I could make piña coladas (you see where the embarrassment factor comes in). Now I find the sweetness of pineapple cloying, so it’s not my favorite drink by a longshot. (It’s possible I haven’t had one since college!)

Making Lychee Mojitos

On top of my diminished fondness for pineapple, let’s just say there was an incident involving clear rum-filled plastic water bottles and a lack of moderation. Rum and I stayed away from each other for a while after that.

Lychees, limes, and mint

There were exceptions of course. Like when I got to travel to Cuba on one of the rare educational visas issued to U.S. citizens (I went with Global Exchange), and the moment I stepped off the bus from the airport and into my hotel lobby, I was handed a mojito (in a tall collins glass that they called a caña) and it was so. good.

(Caña in this case refers to the sugar cane-like shape of the collins or highball glass—not a glass for beer, like in some other Spanish-speaking countries.)

Lychee Mojitos

That was probably the day when mojitos shot up nearly as high as gin & tonics in my book.

Adding fresh fruit to mojitos only improves them (in my limited experience). My old roommate in Philadelphia used to make delicious strawberry mojitos all the time. (Or did she just make me one—once—that was so amazing it sticks in my memory…?)

Making Lychee Mojitos

After years of never once purchasing rum or making my own mojitos, a while back I found myself with an excess of Alphonso mangoes and took that as an opportunity to make mango mojitos (which were also pretty delicious).

Making Lychee Mojitos

So that is how I came to have rum in the house along with my lychees, mint, and limes. These mojitos were both spontaneous and inevitable.

Making Lychee Mojitos

The super sweet mango mojitos were nice, but nothing hits the spot quite like the unexpected fruitiness of a lychee, paired with the tart lime juice and fresh, fragrant mint leaves.

The lychees are also fragrant and nutty, with a delightfully chewy, pulpy texture.

Making Frozen Lychee Ice Cubes

Also! Instead of melting watery ice, this time I used whole frozen lychees, peeled (but not pitted) as non-melty ice cubes, and it worked out nicely.

Lychee Mojitos with Frozen Lychee Ice Cubes

It might be a little gimmicky, but if you have the forethought to stick a handful of lychees in the freezer the night before you whip up these cocktails, then your ice cubes will be round lychee echoes of the drink itself. And if you’re as slow a sipper as I am, they will have defrosted to room temperature right as you’re finishing your drink—just in time to chomp on the somewhat alcoholic bite-sized fruity morsels.

Frozen Lychees to use as ice cubes

p.s. I’m ahead of the game taking photos of upcoming blog posts right now, so I had some options for this week’s recipe; with my birthday (32!) coming up this Saturday, cocktails somehow seemed the most appropriate.

Print this recipe. (PDF)

RECIPE:

Lychee Mojitos

(Makes 2 cocktails)

Lychee Syrup Ingredients (makes 4 oz. of syrup, for 2 cocktails):
~ 3-4 lychees, peeled and roughly chopped
~ 6 Tbsp. water
~ 3 Tbsp. sugar

Mojito Ingredients (per cocktail):
~ juice of 1 lime
~ 4-5 fresh mint leaves
~ 2 oz. lychee syrup
~ 1-1½ oz. rum
~ 2 oz. seltzer water (or club soda)
OPTIONAL:
~ additional 3-4 whole frozen lychees per drink in place of ice cubes

How to make it:

1. Make the syrup: In a small saucepan, combine the chopped lychees, water, and sugar. Bring just to a simmer, then cool to room temperature or chill in the fridge.

Lychees, limes, and mint

2. Once the lychee syrup has cooled, assemble the cocktails: Squeeze the juice of ½ a lime into each glass, then roughly tear up the mint leaves and add to the glasses. Use a muddler (or a pestle) to mash the mint leaves a little to release their flavor.

Making Lychee Syrup for MojitosMaking Lychee Mojitos

3. Strain the chopped lychees out from the syrup and add chopped lychees to each glass, muddling those as well, before also adding 2 oz. syrup (half of the syrup) to each glass. (Or add the syrup and chopped fruit at the same time.)

4. Add ice cubes (or frozen lychees, with their stems sliced off and peels removed). Then add 1-1½ oz. rum and 2 oz. seltzer water to each glass. Give each cocktail another good squeeze of fresh lime juice before serving.

Print this recipe! (PDF)

Lychee MojitosPin it!

Related recipe posts:

The Chinchilla cocktail with ginger and lime Two Vietnamese Avocado Smoothies Cara Cara Orange Cocktail Mango Coconut Popsicles
The Chinchilla Cocktail + Homemade Ginger Ale Vietnamese Sweet Avocado Smoothies Cara Cara Cocktail (Two ways) Mango Coconut Popsicles
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46 Comments leave one →
  1. August 15, 2013 8:55 am

    I really have to try this! I like mojito and the good thing is that we have lychee here! It sounds crazy combination,but I’m going to try it!You’re so creative!

    • August 15, 2013 8:57 am

      Yay, I’m glad you agree it sounds good AND you have access to lychees—perfect!

      I can be pretty creative sometimes when it comes to figuring out how we can possibly use up all the produce that I randomly splurged on before it starts going bad in the fridge… :)

  2. August 15, 2013 10:21 am

    These look amazing! I had lychee martinis once years ago and still think about how good they are.

    • August 15, 2013 1:25 pm

      Thanks! Lychee martinis sound good, too. I actually have had a lychee cocktail in a bar once before—I can’t remember what it was though! (There actually wasn’t much lychee-flavored about it, except that it came with 2 lychees on a toothpick/stir-stick like instead of olives—but it wasn’t a martini—and it had something very floral and perfume-y to the drink… maybe lavender. It was okay, but not amazing.)

      • August 15, 2013 1:28 pm

        Ooh lychee and lavender sounds like it could be good though! Maybe I need to experiment.

      • August 15, 2013 1:28 pm

        Yes, that part was nice! I think I was mainly a little disappointed in the drink because it wasn’t lychee flavored *enough*.

  3. August 15, 2013 11:23 am

    Gorgeous photos! And the cocktail looks delicious. Lychees are my favorite :)

    • August 15, 2013 1:28 pm

      Thank you! I know, I looove lychees, too! I’ve bought more every time I’ve gone back to that store for four weeks in a row now… and each week as I’m walking into the store, I get preemptively very sad at the thought that they might no longer have them in stock! So far, so good though… :)

  4. August 15, 2013 1:51 pm

    We love mojitos! And this is a beautiful drink. :)

  5. August 15, 2013 4:56 pm

    That looks FANtastic!

  6. August 15, 2013 6:55 pm

    Look amazing! I’ve recently re-discovered lychee and it’s grown on me quite a bit

  7. August 15, 2013 9:15 pm

    I love lychees – I always associate them with Christmas for some reason? But I could sling back one of these anytime.

    • August 18, 2013 4:33 pm

      Funny… maybe it’s because of the bright red color of the peels? (And the peels of older/dried-out lychees sometimes take on something of a faded greenish hue to them, so maybe that’s where you got the Christmas idea? Unless you actually used to eat them, like, only on Christmas day every year… that would do it, too.) :)

  8. August 16, 2013 1:14 am

    love lychees!! This is definitely a perfect summer drink :)

    • August 18, 2013 4:34 pm

      Thanks! Yep, that’s what I was thinking—I’ve been craving anything cool, lime-y, and minty during some of the warmer summer evenings.

  9. August 17, 2013 8:55 am

    I love that you put so many beautiful pictures in the post! Amazing!! Makes it all more fun to read and wanting to try this, looks so tasty! ;-) thank you!

    • August 18, 2013 4:39 pm

      Thank you thank you for this comment! Because I often put like 18-25 photos in each of my posts (recently, anyway), and I sometimes worry that it’s overkill or way too many photos, especially compared to other food blogs that may have just 1-3 very large vertical photos (of the finished product, but fewer shots of the cooking in progress).

      It’s nice to know my indecisiveness (complete inability to narrow down / edit out more of my photos) hasn’t totally taken away from the point of my blog posts! :)

      • August 18, 2013 5:42 pm

        No, it’s amazing so many pictures!!! I love it, keep doing this ;-) you should have a look at smittenkitchen.com. she also posts tons of pictures of the cooking process, the ingredients…so beautiful! i want to do it too, but my kitchen is not so pretty and it’s such a mess when I cook…hahha ;-) so I haven’t done it so much yet, but plan to do more. keep blogging, love it!

      • August 18, 2013 6:39 pm

        I can’t believe you just compared my blog to smitten kitchen! That made my day. :) (That is definitely my all-time favorite food blog, and the website that first got me interested in reading all the food writing and recipes on the internet!)

        My kitchen is not as pretty as Deb’s either (my counters are horrible), but I recently got a slightly nicer kitchen table, and even before that, I was using a big wood scrap board, painted white—like in the photos above—for most of my blog backgrounds. You could always try something like that, too! :)

  10. August 17, 2013 9:49 am

    I have enjoyed browsing, lots of interesting recipes, including this one. Nice blog.

  11. August 18, 2013 1:31 am

    Oh my god, I love a good mojito, this version sounds (and looks) absolutely fabulous! And thanks for the tip about frozen fruit as ice cubes, I’ll have to try this.

    PS: It’s “nice” to hear about other people’s aversions to certain drinks stemming from teen years – everybody has one! Mine is gin, I still can’t stand the smell of it. ;-)

    • August 18, 2013 4:48 pm

      Haha, I’m glad you found it “nice” to hear about the college-era source of my long-time rum aversion! Although actually, I have to say, I think the aversion has completely disappeared in that I really don’t mind the flavor of rum now—any more than I mind the flavor of other hard liquors, that is, since I still prefer them to be mostly covered up by sweetness/fruit/whatever. It’s just the *idea* of rum that reminds me of college in a bad way… :)

      So maybe you will someday get over your gin aversion, too! (In the meantime, you can enjoy making yourself mojitos like this one!)

  12. August 18, 2013 4:04 pm

    What a gorgeous Mojito and I love the addition of Lychees! Delicious!

    • August 18, 2013 4:51 pm

      Thanks, Serena! It’s definitely a super delicious combination… just looking back at this post makes me want to make these again tonight! :)

  13. August 18, 2013 8:07 pm

    I’ve never had a lychee – guess it’s time to try them! Thanks for the inspiration!

    • August 19, 2013 12:27 pm

      Definitely! They are so worth trying, especially if you’ve never tried any of those other similar SE Asian fruits either… hope you can find some in your area! :)

  14. August 19, 2013 1:35 pm

    I noticed some lychee’s at Whole Foods recently. I’d never seen them there before and I thought about trying one, but didn’t. Now that I’ve read this post, I pick some up for sure the next time I go shopping (if they’re still there). Celeste :)

    • August 22, 2013 9:03 am

      Nice! I hope they’re still there! (You might also try out a Trader Joe’s, if you have one in town, or your local Asian market(s) if Whole Foods doesn’t have them…)

  15. August 20, 2013 8:25 am

    Um, you went to Cuba?!?! That’s amazing! I want!

    Also, I love lychees and the idea of using them as little ice cubes. No need to water down that beautiful business.

    And… I wish I could tell my college self to not ruin whiskey for me for the next five years. I’ll never have those five years back!

    • August 22, 2013 9:11 am

      Haha, I know; I should be grateful that my college self *only* ruined rum and not other types of alcohol, too… (Actually, it ruined Mike’s Hard Lemonade for me too, but I am willing to live with that.)

      And yes, lychee ice cubes = gimmicky, but I think a good idea nonetheless!

      And yes, I went to Cuba! It was only for 10 days, but I’m so glad I did it. It’s a whole different story being there in person and talking with people about their government/economy/etc. A lot of people I talked to seemed to be happier with their circumstances than people who have left the country would lead you to believe… But then again the economy is not in good shape and is very divided according to tourist-industry-related versus not, in terms of who has access to U.S. dollars, which have a lot more buying power than the Cuban currency. Besides all that it, it was also fun to speak Spanish, see the sights (and the Che Guevara memorial museum in Santa Clara), try the food, and experience a New Year’s Eve in Havana.

  16. August 20, 2013 6:35 pm

    Every once in a while I see Lychees at the store, and I always just buy a few to snack on. Next time I see them, I know exactly what I’ll be doing with them! Thanks!

    • August 22, 2013 9:13 am

      Thanks for commenting! :) I’m glad I could help you out with an idea for your lychees. I actually wish Trader Joe’s sold them in bulk (instead of in a plastic package) so I could buy just a few at a time, but then again now whenever I have extras, I can make these mojitos!

  17. August 21, 2013 3:14 am

    Looks sooo good! I wanna try these out.

  18. August 21, 2013 6:48 pm

    Fresh lychees are heavenly! For years, I thought that I hated them because I had only tasted canned, but it’s a completely different experience when they’re fresh. I never thought of using them to make a twist on the mojito- What a refreshing change of pace.

    • August 22, 2013 9:17 am

      Oh yes, fresh lychees are worlds away from the syrupy sweet soggy canned ones. (Although I guess I went and cooked my fresh ones into a syrup… but at least they were crisp and juicy and not at all soggy!)

  19. Nami | Just One Cookbook permalink
    August 22, 2013 12:32 am

    I don’t drink much but I have a few exceptions and mojitos are one of them. :) Plus, with lychee (I LOVE THEM!) I might have a second too!! Looks so good. I actually drool over drinks. That’s rare. :D

    • August 22, 2013 9:19 am

      Yay, I made a cocktail recipe that you might actually enjoy! I’m happy to hear that! (Plus you could always make a virgin mojito version without the rum…) Anyway, I’m glad we share the same love for lychees. :)

  20. September 7, 2013 1:27 pm

    Beautiful! This would go down a great in our house. Thanks x

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