Sip Happens: Strawberry basil Mojito at Devon Seafood Grill

The classic Cuban-inspired mojito is the perfect summer cocktail, with its zesty lime, tropical rum, pure cane sugar and refreshing mint.

It’s hard to imagine how the cherished cocktail of famed author Ernest Hemingway could be any better. Unless …

What if you switched out the mint for something more robust and herbal, like basil? It’s the leafy herb that gives tomato sauce and Italian cooking its distinctive flair.

And what would happen if you employed fresh sweet strawberries to balance out the basil and lime, giving it a more complex fruit character, recalling a summer herb garden right here in Pennsylvania, with fresh-picked berries and bouquets of cooking herbs?

You could call it a strawberry basil mojito. What a great idea.

Well, it seems that Devon Seafood Grill in Hershey is already on it. In their summery cocktail menu, which features cooling cocktails like the Eastsider with gin and muddled cucumber, the Bourbon Basil Smash with bourbon, lemon and basil and the sparkling blackberry martini, the strawberry basil mojito is a standout.

Not only is it a delicious farm-fresh cocktail, but it looks gorgeous with all its berry rosiness. The taste is bright and flavorful, like a bowl of rum-soaked strawberries with vibrant lime and a mysterious hint of basil.

The recipe is simple, with Mt. Gay Eclipse rum, muddled fresh strawberries and sweet basil, simple syrup and freshly squeezed lime juice in a rounded old-fashioned glass, garnished with a whole basil leaf. With a menu that focuses on fresh seafood like Maine lobster, Atlantic salmon, Hawaiian mahi mahi, Maryland blue crab, Prince Edward Island pink moon oysters, New Zealand barramundi and Alaskan halibut, Devon Seafood Grill rushes these catches by air to the Hershey restaurant.

The setting is sleek and modern, with natural dark woods and bronze hues. There is a wall of fire that hints at the mesquite wood-fired grill that is used to prepare the fresh seafood and other entrees. In the near distance, you can hear the muffled screams of roller coaster adventurers at Hershey Park.

Inside Devon’s, all is serene as you sip your strawberry basil mojito with one of their appetizer starters. Good choices might be a plate of fresh shucked Beau Soleil oysters from New Brunswick, coconut green curry mussels with cilantro, sauteed Italian-inspired shrimp scampi, a pair of adorable miniature New England lobster rolls, snapper ceviche with mango or goat cheese bruschetta with tomato basil cruda.

Then you can imagine yourself joining Hemingway in Cuba as you sip your mojitos.

The mojito is one of Cuba’s most legendary cocktails,
with a name that comes from the African word mojo, meaning “to cast a little spell.” There is magic to the mojito, a drink which has gained a cool following – including Pierce Brosnan as James Bond in a departure from his usual martini in “Die Another Day,” and Johnny Depp’s character, who sipped one in “The Rum Diary.”

Mojitos are a staple not only in Cuba, but throughout the Caribbean, Key West and South Florida, coming on to the U.S. pop culture scene in the classic ”Miami Vice” TV show of the ‘80s.

The mojito can be made with any number of fruit juices, like passion fruit, mango, watermelon, pomegranate, peach, coconut or pineapple. The only musts are the rum, lime and sugar. After that, you can weave your own magic.

27 W. Chocolate Ave., Hershey
Mon-Thurs. 11 a.m.-10 p.m.
Fri.-Sat. 11 a.m.-11p.m.
Sun. 10 a.m.-10 p.m

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Posted in Articles, Drink, Drink – Harrisburg, Eat – Harrisburg, Harrisburg, Harrisburg Headlines, Headlines, Out & About, Sip Happens

Laura Knowles is a freelance writer and photographer for Fly Magazine. She is obsessed with writing about food, art, music and theatre, in an effort to pretend to be a chef, artist, musician and actress. Her goal in life is to be on Jeopardy, as long as there is no math category.

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