The Session: Beer cocktails; Jaipur mojito

Running late here, or is it early? The Session was on the first; I was getting busy at a beer festival and have then had mucho enjoyable GT racing to spectate at. Hell, I'm not even supposed to be around here for another month. But when a Session topic is this hot and the cocktail is this cool, I can't resist. So... hello, I'm Johnny Knoxville and this is the Thornbridge Jaipur Mojito.

There are three steps to making the perfect Jaipur mojito;

1) Know your history

Beer in a cocktail. Sounds wrong. Cocktail - good. Beer - good. Both together - train wreck and a waste of good booze. Indeedly, a quick Googling returns the likes of the Coors Light mojito, which seems to ring out a virtual death knell for the concept. Yes, as a straight-up cocktail it's over-exposed and drank by the bucketload amongst herds of chinless Audi-driving cocks and slack-bladdered hen parties. But - damn it! This is a Hemingway drink (perhaps) and it deserves justice. Reclaim the mojito, I say.

2) Source your ingredients

Who hasn't got the necessary knocking around the kitchen to lash up a cocktail? My freezer is full of vodka and gin, my fridge is full of vermouth and citric things. Apart from limes. And I was out of sugar for the syrup. And it's been a poor year for the home grown mint. And someone drank all the white rum at Christmas. So, a trip to the friendly neighbourhood retail colossus was required. And - yes - glances were exchanged over the contents of my basket. But only because I was the first person in the queue not laden with value pizza and pizz-weak lager slabs.

And they sold Thornbridge Jaipur too - the real reason for shopping there. But I had a feeling that my mojito deserved cask freshness, so I managed to wheedle a pint or three of the proper job out of the brewer, Kelly Ryan, making the sixty-mile round trip up to the Coach & Horses in Dronfield (via four trains, two pubs and the chip shop) to pick it up. It's sheer quality stuff, naturally. Had to have a pint of it whilst I was there. Well, you've got to quality assure your supplier. Especially when the supplier is buying a round ;-)

3) Perfect the recipe

Now, I can shake a mean cocktail. But the Jaipur mojito required deftness, clarity, balance. Not just fruit shedded into a bucket with gloopy liqueurs dumped in. So here's where Alistair Myers comes in. General manager of Rowley's restaurant in Derbyshire's Peak District, he's the inventor of the Jaipur mojito. It made an appearance at their recent Thornbridge beer and food evening and has been a labour of love for Alistair. With a prolonged gestation - he wanted a drink that worked well with the dessert course and found himself working his way through the cocktail bible to get there. Jaipur was the given base, but the ultimate guise seemed elusive - lemon & lime, brandy, iced tea, even a Jaipur Sunrise didn't pass muster. Creme de menthe made for a great look, just a shame about the flavour. The beer has assertive citric flavours delivered with balance and finesse; a mojito offers a similar level of control with carefully disguised alcohol. And so, it came to pass - and in Baslow there was much rejoicing.

Alistair was happy to divulge the recipe to me and I enjoyed a happy half-hour trying not to neck neat Jaipur whilst aiding limes to erupt everywhere except into the blasted glass.

Anyoldhow: how does it taste?

Un-nervingly impressive. It's clean, crisp, delivers alcohol with a subtle caress. My ham-fists may have made for liberal measures, yet the segue from preserved lemon to echoing mint via a bickering bitterness was sublime. Each flavour rose and danced before yielding gladly to the next.

The Jaipur mojito helps you drop down through the mental gears and freewheel into the weekend. The freshness for me was its defining characteristic - living beer introduced to just-cooled sugar syrup, bathing wet mint that strips through rum... it's alive!

If what I've concocted is even postcode-close to Alistair's creation I will die a happy man. Only one way to find out, I suppose - make Rowley's my La Bodeguita. For if Hemingway was right, and all things truly wicked start from innocence, I'm prepared to walk into the bar wide-eyed.

If you want to try the Thornbridge Jaipur mojito, you need to go here and ask nicely. But you may want to wait for the Jaipur bellini...


  1. This sounds fantastic! But, and here's the question, do I take a prized bottle (because I can only really get bottles down here) and use it to make or cocktail, or do I just drink the bottle?!

    This sure does sound great for the summer though!

  2. This sounds great!! We do a Mojito with Coors Light which is great but I reckon your version but with the Angostra 5 yr old rum would be amazing and lose some of the sharp edge you get with Bacardi