I’m actually not really a fan of mojitos, but following an excellent evening of making them myself courtesy of Havana Club and lifestyle blog Where’s Jack at their mojito masterclass, I can now make a pretty good one and will actually do so on a more regular basis!
It was raining (obviously) on an otherwise dull Tuesday when I headed to the gorgeous Hoxton Hotel in Holborn with Ian and the lovely Jason and Chiara who co-write the fab Goan to London blog. After an appetiser of their fruity Montepulciano we cracked on with the mojito class, led by Catriona from Havana Club.
We started by spooning some white sugar into Havana tins – gimmicky perhaps but it’s how they drink them in Cuba, keeps the mojito cold. The juice of half a lime followed and we stirred to dissolve the sugar – something bars often don’t bother with, hence the gritty, over-sweet mouthfuls you get. Then a couple of sprigs of mint, scrunched a little to release the flavour, but not broken as this means means the bitter oil will be too much.
Gentle muddling with the sugar and lime, then some ice goes in. You should always use cubes not crushed, as otherwise it melts too quick and dilutes the mojito – one of the reasons I don’t like them. 50ml of Havana Club 3, a splash of soda, more ice to the top and voila!
Catriona said the way to identify purer rums is to rub some on your hands – if it disappears it’s the real deal, if it leaves a sticky residue it’s been coloured with sugar to make it appear aged. Handy!
We sat down after the class at a table laden with rum, rum and more rum, as well as all the other ingredients, and were advised to go to town – dangerous for a Tuesday! Some serious sustenance was needed by about 9pm, so Ian and I headed downstairs to Soho House group’s Chicken Shop, a sort-of better version of Nando’s hidden under the hotel (I love Nando’s so that’s not an insult). It’s had some stick in the reviews, but on this occasion was pretty good.
We ordered half a chicken, all the sides (I know) which involved chips, a beautiful avocado and butter lettuce salad corn cobs and coleslaw – pretty much all my favourite grilled chicken accompaniments.
The chicken was spicy, salty, tender and perfectly cooked, and was perfect with the sides. There are two house sauces offered, a homemade BBQ which is lovely, and a very very hot sauce, which we were warned about instantly by the waiter. A tiny dab on the end of a chip had my nose running, but it tasted great.
A very good dinner including 2 double spirits came to nearly £50, not bad for such good food. A great evening all round!