Drink of the Week: The Mariposa Mojito

The Mariposa Mojito

There was a time many weeks back when I began to ask myself a question pregnant with meaning: “What happened to all the free booze?” It’s not that I’m greedy, particularly. Believe it or not, I actually spend a little money subsidizing this column. Of course, I get to drink those subsidies, but a guy still likes to make a profit on something he actually works on, so those freebies do help a bit.

In any case, in recent weeks the very nice freebies have been coming fast and furious and the latest is something pretty much completely new to me. Mariposa Agave Liqueur is made from the very sweet nectar produced from the agave plant, the not so sweet booze produced by the blue agave plant — I think they call the stuff “tequila” — and also some vodka. If you have a bit of a sweet tooth like I do, I have to say the stuff is not bad on it’s own over the rocks and with a splash of water. It’s kind of like drinking really good, boozy honey.

Anyhow, the Heaven Hill people who produce this stuff have been promulgating a few cocktails. Since we’re just seeing the end of a truly hellish week of record breaking 105+ plus temperatures here in vivacious Van Nuys, I went for the coldest, most refreshing choice available. This one is icy and relatively low on actual booze which, as you know, actually makes you feel warmer. (Of course, it also makes you care less that you too warm.) In any case, I rather like it.

The Mariposa Mojito

1 ounce Mariposa Agave Liqueur
1 ounce white (aka silver) rum
1/2 ounce fresh lemon juice
1/2 ounce fresh lime juice
2-5 springs of mint
Club soda (roughly 2 ounces)
1/4 ounce agave nectar (optional)
Lime slice (optional garnish)

Combine all the ingredients except the club soda and the garnish lime slice in a cocktail shaker. If you’re going for the extra bit of sweetness with the agave nectar — this is my addition and not included in the original recipe, by the way — then you’ll first want to shake it without adding ice. Agave nectar has not only a honey-like taste but a honey-like consistency and it needs a bit of work to become properly dissolved.

Next, add lots of ice and shake like crazy. Strain into a large-ish Collins glass or something similar filled with fresh ice (i.e., not the same ice you used in the shaker). Top off with club soda, stir and remind yourself that the agave plant is actually not, as you might have heard, a member of the cactus family. Cacti are succulents; agave is a monocot, which I gather is closer to the yucca plant and, no, I don’t know the first thing about horticulture, except what Dorothy Parker said about it.


I’ve not much more to add to this drink except that I like it as a less labor intensive, somewhat less boozy, muddling-free spin on the classic mojito. I tried, however tweaking it a bit by adding more rum. Despite the fact that I was using some of the excellent Denizen Rum I have left over from when I was using to make such great classic drinks as the Mary Pickford a while back, the larger amount of booze really didn’t help the flavor at all and only diluted the already diluted sweetness of the Mariposa. A little extra sweetness from the increasingly popular cocktail ingredient of agave nectar was quite welcome however.

Those looking for a boozier drink to make with Mariposa however, won’t have long to wait. Stay tuned.


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Drink of the Week: The Mary Pickford

The Mary PickfordIt’s Oscar weekend and the modern day quasi-silent film, “The Artist” is looking to take many, if not most, of the little gold men. It’s therefore kind of hard think of a better selection than this delightfully subtle and sweet, if now obscure, classic named for the single most famous woman in the silent cinema. It’s true that few of Mary Pickford’s hits — the ones that haven’t been lost, anyway — are often watched today, even by many crazy cinephiles like me. Indeed, as far as I can figure out not even the wondrous and far more classic-cinema knowledgeable Self-Styled Siren, Farran Smith Nehme, nor the sharp witted and more free-roaming Marilyn Ferdinand have written much about her films.

Nevertheless, Pickford’s legacy looms large in Hollywood even nearly 120 years after birth. She was, if nothing else, one of the co-founders of United Artists along with Charlie Chaplin, director D.W. Griffith, regarded as the inventor of the movies as we know them, and her then husband, Douglas Fairbanks, the movies’ first true action superstar.

Less fortunately, Mary Pickford was also known to partake a bit too much. If you’re going to be gossiped about for your drinking, the least they can do is name a really good drink for you, and this one is really good.

A word of warning for the deeply insecure: Writer Wayne Curtis, who enjoyed today’s DOTW in the city where it remains most popular, Havana, Cuba, described it thus: “Another lost cocktail of Prohibition, which is pink and ladylike and served with a large wedge of pineapple.” Okay, so this is a rather delicate drink, and this a blog post for an online men’s magazine, but this is one beverage that proves the value of staying in touch with your feminine side. It’s extremely good.

The Mary Pickford

1 1/2 oz. white rum
1 oz. pineapple juice
1/4 tsp grenadine
1/4 tsp maraschino liqueur
1 piece pineapple (optional garnish)

Combine the rum, pineapple juice, grenadine and maraschino liqueur in a cocktail shaker. Shake like crazy and strain into a cocktail or wide-mouthed champagne glass. You can serve the pineapple on the side, or be crazy like me and drop a chunk into the actual drink. Be sure and toast America’s sweetheart when you take your first sip.


First of all, I’d like to give props to my friends representing Denizen Rum for suggesting this drink. It’s not just because they were nice enough to send me a free bottle and plenty of recipes that I say this drink worked probably especially well for me because of the Denizen I was using. (I was all out of the other stuff.) There’s nothing wrong with Brand X, but I really do think the somewhat zippier flavor of Denizen is adding a little extra something to my Mary Pickfords. (Though, after writing that, I feel as if I should be looking into a camera and holding up the bottle as I remind you that Denizen is available online for an extremely reasonable price here.)

Some quick words about the other ingredients. Whatever you do, don’t confuse maraschino liqueur with the maraschino syrup that drowns the unnaturally red cherries we all know. It’s an entirely different animal and a lot more interesting. I was using Luxor Maraschino. I’m not sure if there any other brands widely available.

Also, if you like a redder drink that looks more like the one in the picture, there’s an alternate recipe which is a bit sweeter but also very good attributed to the New York bar, PKNY, which boosts the ingredients up slightly to 2 ounces of rum, 1 1/2 ounces of pineapple juice, and a quarter ounce each of the maraschino and grenadine. (Naturally, they make their own grenadine and use freshly squeezed pineapple juice, though I didn’t and it was still good.) If you enjoy the Mary Pickford, you might also want to take a look at El Presidente, which we covered a few weeks back.

Finally, If you’re curious to get a glimpse into what the big deal with Mary Pickford was, you can see her accepting her special Oscar in 1976. It’s worth a look and only a touch “Sunset Boulevard“-esque.


Drink of the Week: El Presidente

El PresidenteThe name of today’s DOTW notwithstanding, this post is not brought to you by the ongoing Republican primary or anything else happening in the world of U.S. or Latin American politics. Instead, we all should thank the good people of Denizen Rum. As always, I appreciate the free bottle but I also appreciate the very reasonable price tag for a fifth which, depending on taxes in your area, might give you enough change from a $20.00 for a Double-Double at In ‘n Out. That’s something because this is tasty stuff, a bit more sophisticated and complex than your standard Bacardi, but in the friendliest way.

On to the cocktail, which was supposedly invented by a Yankee bartender working in Cuba. As per Wayne Curtis, back when little Fidel Castro was not even old enough for his first game of sandlot baseball, Cuba’s somewhat beleaguered President Gerardo Machado, offered one of these to our own el presidente, Republican Calvin Coolidge. Silent Cal remembered that there was this thing called prohibition going on and politely declined.

Nice story, but my first attempt at the drink seemed to explain why El Presidente has become a relic stateside. I found the classical recipes to be sweet to the point of being cloying — and that’s something considering my sweet tooth.

I therefore followed the lead of booze blogger Matt Robold and halved one sweet ingredient, orange curacao, at his suggestion. I liked that version better but I decided to also halve the amount of grenadine he suggested. I found something close to perfection when made with the Denizen rum. This version works slightly less well with plain old Bacardi, but it’s still very nice.

El Presidente (impeached, but not deposed)

1.5 ounces white rum
3/4 ounce dry vermouth
1/4 ounce orange curacao
1/4 teaspoon grenadine
1 orange twist (garnish)

Combine ingredients in a cocktail shaker. If you want to be traditional, stir for a very long time over crushed or cracked ice, or you can do like I do and shake it vigorously, though the drink might not look as pretty if you do. Your call.

Strain into our old friend, the chilled martini/cocktail glass. Fire up original mambo king Perez Prado on the music player of your choice, imagine a day when Cuban cigars are no longer contraband, and have a sip.


If you want to go more traditional/way sweeter, the classic version offered by cocktail super-historian David Wondrich simply doubles the amount of curacao, and I think 1/4 of a teaspoon is probably the same as the “dash” of grenadine he suggests. I will say that, while I loved my version of the drink, at no point was I able to achieve the orange color the drink has in most (but not all) photos. Mine was more of a pale pinkish hue somewhat as you see above, even with just a tiny amount of very sweet, very red grenadine. It tasted amazing, so I can live with that.

One quick suggestion, if you are determined to go with the full 1/2 ounce of orange sweet stuff, you might do as some have suggested and substitute Cointreau for the curacao. It’s not bad.