Have you ever tasted passion fruit? If you haven’t, then you’re missing out on a flavor which the people of Latin America, South America and the Caribbean have been enjoying for ages. The Passiflora edulis is a vine fruit and is also known as maracuya, parcha, grenadille, fruit de la passion, maracuja and in Hawaii as liliko’i. The fruit can vary in color from a light yellow to a dark purple exterior. The form can be round or cylindrical and can vary in size. When cut open, the inside holds a membrane pouch and is filled with small seeds surrounded in a gelatinous orange pulp. The taste is slightly acidic, tangy, and exotic. There is a smaller variety granadillo, pasiflore, which is less acidic and can be eaten directly from the shell of the fruit. The larger varieties are often too sour to be consumed pure but when diluted, make the most delicious juices, ice creams, dressings and desserts.
I am a fan of the Cuban Mojito. I love the addition of fresh herbs to drinks, especially in the summer months. As I am growing lots of fresh mint and Haitian ti baume in my garden, I thought about mixing the flavors of the traditional mojito: limes, mint and white rum, with fresh passion fruit pulp to create a passion fruit mojito. The results were fruity, cool and refreshing. If you’re not on an island in the Caribbean, make this drink, put on some Latin or Caribbean vibes and sip this. It will take you on a little vacation to a paradise where I call home.
Passion Fruit Mojito
Makes a pitcher for 4
6 oz white rum, or artisanal rum
6 oz simple syrup
4 limes, cut in quarters
2 limes, juiced
40 mint leaves, approximately 10 per serving plus 4 sprigs for additional for garnish
3 large passion fruit or 4 medium or 4 oz passion fruit puree if fresh fruit is unavailable
1 12 oz can soda water or sparkling seltzer
crushed ice 3-4 cups
Simple syrup: 1 cup white sugar and 1 cup water. Put is a small pot and heat through just until sugar dissolves completely. Do not bring to a boil! Allow to cool.
Cut open the passion fruit and scoop out the seeds into a bowl. Mash the seeds with a spoon and add 2 tbsp water to loosen the pulp. Press the seeds and pulp to express the maximum flavor. Strain the juice through a fine strainer or cheese cloth. Squeeze well to ensure that you have extracted all of the juices.
In a large pitcher, pour the passion fruit juice, simple syrup and combine. Add the lime quarters and mint leaves with a muddler or wooden spoon, press and apply pressure to the fruit. It is essential to bruise the mint leaves and limes to extract the essences and the lime juice. add the squeezed lime juice.
Add the white rum and stir well.
Pour the soda water or seltzer water into the pitcher and stir.
Serve in tall glasses with lots of crushed ice and top with a sprig of mint.
Note: The drink looks pretty and exotic with the passion fruit seeds. I chose to not add the seeds as I do not want to have the hard seeds in my beverage. if you prefer to use them, by all means do not use a strainer as I explained.
You can also use a measure of 1 oz simple syrup per serving. I used 1 1/2 oz measure here as my fruit were very acidic. You can go with the lesser measure and add more syrup as per your preference.