This Dragon Fruit Mojito is not only beautiful and easy to make, but it's also super delicious and refreshing. The dragon fruit brings sweetness and tartness, along with a mild flavor which lets the mint, lime and rum shine through.
This is the perfect summertime cocktail, since that's when dragon fruit is usually in season. But if you can find a dragon fruit in February, it would make a great Valentine's Day cocktail too! I found this one at Whole Foods (see Dragon Fruit (Pitahaya)).
What is Dragon Fruit?
Dragon fruit, also known as pitaya, pitahaya, or strawberry pear, is a fruit native to the Americas. It grows on a type of cactus, and it's mostly known for its brilliant magenta skin (although a few types are yellow), and the characteristic green spikes on the sides.
Inside, the flesh of the dragon fruit can either be white with black seeds, or a dark pink color with black seeds. It tastes a lot like a kiwi fruit, with a mild sweet and tart flavor.
Mojitos are simple to make at home, but they're best when you use really fresh ingredients. To make this cocktail, you'll need:
- Fresh dragon fruit
- Fresh mint leaves
- White rum - this doesn't need to be an expensive bottle, just a low- to mid-price range rum, since many flavors will be overtaken by the other ingredients.
- Lime juice - preferably freshly squeezed with a citrus juicer.
- Simple syrup
If you can't get your hands on one of the ingredients, try one of these substitutes:
- Fresh dragon fruit - flavor-wise, I suggest substituting in a kiwi fruit. It will look totally different with a green color, but it will taste very similar. For a similar color instead, I suggest muddling an apple slice along with a couple of dried hibiscus petals.
- Fresh mint leaves - mint is a pretty key feature of a mojito. If you can't find fresh mint, dried mint doesn't really taste the same. The closest substitute is fresh basil.
- White rum - you can use dark rum if you prefer, but the delicate pink color will become more orange. Instead, consider substituting vodka. It won't be a true mojito with vodka, but will still taste great.
- Lime juice - you can substitute in lemon juice if you can't find lime juice, or dissolve about four packets of True Lime crystallized lime in one ounce of water.
- Simple syrup - substitute with maple syrup.
Making a mojito is pretty simple, and you don't even need to clean up much equipment afterwards. Here is what you'll need:
- Highball glass to build and serve the drink
- Cutting board and knife to cut the dragon fruit and lime
- Bar spoon
- Citrus juicer
- Straw (optional)
Start out making this drink by washing your produce very well. Then, cut slices of your dragon fruit. Set one slice aside for a garnish, and cut the other slice(s) into smaller pieces, leaving the skin on.
Add the smaller pieces to your highball glass and, using the muddler, muddle them well until they become a puree-like texture (but with the seeds intact). Optionally, you can then remove the pieces of skin, since they are tough and don't really add much to the drink other than color.
Next, use a citrus juicer to juice your lime, and add the juice to your glass. You'll need about one fresh lime for an ounce of juice.
Then, add the simple syrup and rum to the glass.
Take your fresh mint and slap it between your hands to release the mint oils. Add the leaves to your glass.
Fill the rest of the glass with ice and then seltzer water.
Using a long spoon or bar spoon, give everything a quick stir to mix without losing too much carbonation. Garnish the drink with the slice of dragon fruit you've set aside, and serve immediately.
Don't muddle the mint along with the dragon fruit. You'll need to really mash the fruit, and the mint shouldn't be crushed too much, otherwise it could end up giving off some bitter notes. Just slap it between your palms a couple of times before adding it in.
Dragon Fruit Mojito
- Muddle the dragon fruit slices in the bottom of your highball glass. Leave the pink skin on while you muddle to add color to the drink.1-2 slices fresh dragon fruit
- Using a bar spoon, remove the pink skins, leaving the flesh and seeds in the glass.
- Add the rum, simple syrup and lime juice to the glass.2 ounces white rum, 1 ounce simple syrup, 1 ounce lime juice
- Slap the mint between your palms a couple times to release the aroma, and add it to your drink.2 sprigs fresh mint
- Fill the glass with ice and top with seltzer. Give the drink a stir or two with a bar spoon.3-4 ounces seltzer
- Cut a slit in the dragon fruit slice you've reserved for garnish, and place it on the rim of the glass.