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Old Cuban

This wonderful drink was created by my good friend (and now wife) Audrey Saunders, proprietor of the Pegu Club in New York City. You will notice that it is closely related to the Mojito, but with far more elegance and sophistication. Audrey garnishes her original version with a sugar-coated vanilla bean as shown her in this recipe. If you don't happen to have any handy, feel free to make it without, but you do owe it to yourself to try it one day with that little added extra touch.

Old Cuban
3/4 ounce lime juice
1 ounce simple syrup
1 1/2 ounces rum (Bacardi 8 Anejo)
2 dashes Angostura Bitters
6 whole leaves mint
2 ounces champagne (Veuve Clicquot)
Garnish: Sugar-coated vanilla bean
Muddle lime juice, syrup, mint in a mixing glass. Add rum, bitters, ice, and shake well. Strain into cocktail glass, and top with champagne.
To make a sugar-coated vanilla bean, slice a whole bean in half down it's center and scrape out the insides (and save for cooking with!), then slice both halfs across the middle. Now put these (and several more) into a jar filled with sugar. Allow to sit for a week or more. You'll end up with not only some great garnishes for this drink, but vanilla flavored sugar for various uses as well.
Please remember to drink safely and responsibly.
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