You know those friends of yours who started breeding and decamped for the suburbs to raise their offspring because, well, they wanted to be sure their children had as dull an upbringing as they did? They’re not just minivanning to soccer games and PTA bake sales as you sometimes imagine—they’re drinking, probably more than you. I’m not sure why this came as a revelation to me in a especially suburban-centered spring—I’ve read Cheever, after all—but it did, right around my third frozen concoction poured out of a dedicated margarita maker at one of those ranch home compounds in what they refer to as a “subdivision.”
This market for suburban boozing started falling into place for me when I noticed the Desert Pepper Mango Mojito frozen cocktail bucket at the Linens ‘n Things on Roosevelt Road. The mojito has become a ubiquitous offering at bars everywhere, but fresh mint leaves are not even that easy to come by in the city, so, hell, just buy the bucket, add a fifth of rum, and freeze. Voila, delicious summer patio cocktail, right?
Wrong. I’m not sure what I expected, but the bucket contains a large bag of sugar, and two small clear plastic packets of flavor; one mint and one mango, I assume. They look like something from the lab. It was very simple to prepare, but the finished product lives up to only one of its promises: it’s frozen and it’s slushy. Otherwise, it has a bitter flavor, with a strong predominance of rum and an unpleasant finish. None of the minty sweetness that makes a real mojito. In fact, I reckon they could call these mango daiquiris and no one would notice the difference.
But they are strong. So I can imagine folks sitting around the Weber grill, dissecting the virtues of the latest SUVs, gossiping about the neighbors who are not at the party, and getting through it all with a few of these. Bitterness comes in many forms, after all. (Brian Hey)