Last week, out of the blue, the Voice of God (or Jah, or Allah, or the Creator, or Sparky, or whatever your belief system calls She/He Who Knows All), appeared from the eternal lightness and sat next to Drink of the Week while we were enjoying food and drink at Mirasol in the Loop.
Surrounded by a group of know-it-all journalists who were bullshitting their way through a meal on the company dime, Drink of the Week was adding our witty repartee when God chimed in to offer guidance in understanding the drink we had ordered: the lemongrass mojito. The All Knowing ordered a California chardonnay, which came as a surprise; we thought He drank nothing but Everclear and turpentine martinis.
God took a sip of our lemongrass mojito and pondered it for a moment before making a grand declaration: "There's almost a feeling of black licorice flowing down the esophagus," He said in a sturdy, echoing voice. "Yes...black licorice." There was silence, followed by the warble of time/ space as the room rumbled. "I hate black licorice!" God thundered. Turns out, our Supreme Being is a red-licorice man.
Not wanting to contradict God to his face, we kept our mouth shut. Now, hopefully out of His earshot, we'll say that there's no black licorice, or fennel seed, or anise anywhere in the lemongrass mojito. In fact, we didn't taste much licorice at all in the cocktail and think His taste buds might need a refresher. But maybe we're wrong.
Rather, the lemongrass mojito, a gem of a drink, is simply a mojito multiplied by ten; it's its namesake with an exclamation point at the end. (Note: The drink is available, though not on the drink menu.) A mojito, recall, consists of rum, mint, lime and sugar, and the result is crisp, light and stimulating. Where most drinks give you bad breath, a mojito cleans it up. Truth be told, Mirasol's standard mojito is a tad on the sweet side, but the lemongrass version corrects this.
To prepare the variation, Mirasol warms a bottle of Bacardi and steeps it with eight bags of Numi brand lemongrass tea -- a shortcut infusion. This changes the essence of the rum, adds a touch of tang to it, which then transforms the entire drink by bringing a hefty dose of flavor.
Mirasol, which opened in the Loop earlier this year, is hopping -- and deservedly so. Described as "nuevo Latino cuisine," the restaurant serves tapas-size plates that are meant to be shared. On Tuesdays guitarist Liam Christie spins webs of flamenco throughout the room, audible enough to be enjoyed but not so loud that it drowns out the conversation among the "journalists."
"There's a festive glow to this place," says God before driving His Segway into the mist, "amid the warm wash of conversation." What God calls "warm wash," we call "steaming pile," but that's merely semantics, and, ultimately, God makes the final call on all such questions.