Happiest Hour 

Cranberry mojito

We're typically low-maintenance drinkers. An IPA makes us about as happy as a fat kid at Thanksgiving dinner. But the holidays are on the way, and we're feeling creative. Hence, the cranberry mojito.

The history: Some say Spanish explorers brought the mojito to Cuba in the 16th century, when they arrived seeking to plunder Havana's gold. That school of thought notes that the word "mojito" likely stems from the Spanish "mojado," meaning "soaked." Other booze buffs, however, argue that African slaves working in Cuban cane fields created the drink, when noting the African word "mojo" means "to cast a little spell."

What's in it: The classic mojito includes rum, mint, soda water, lime juice, crushed ice and simple syrup. In the spirit of Thanksgiving, we added fresh cranberries.

Why you're drinking it: To display your cocktail-making prowess. One could also argue that because mint promotes digestion and cranberries are rich in vitamin C and potassium, this is a perfect drink for the pre-feast Happy Hours before us.

click to enlarge JESSICA MAYRER
  • Jessica Mayrer

How to make it: In a glass, muddle 12 mint leaves and a handful of cranberries with a spoon or pestle. Add juice from half of a lime, simple syrup to taste, 1.5 ounces of light rum and then top off with soda water and ice. Stir. Pour the drink into a cocktail glass, while using your spoon or a strainer to filter out the ice, muddled fruit and herb. Garnish with mint leaves and a couple of cranberries.

Happiest Hour celebrates western Montana watering holes. To recommend a bar, bartender or beverage for Happiest Hour, email editor@missoulanews.com.

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