First off, the name is misleading. This rum and lime cocktail isn’t exactly what you’d find at a club at Jenkinson’s, Elements, or any of the clubs down the Jersey Shore. It’s nothing sanctioned by the E Street Band, and it’s certainly not any blue-collar steelworker’s hard-living drink that you’d hear about in a Springsteen song. Sorry.
Born to Rum is just a breezier version of the mojito, fairly bursting with lime with a hint of mint and some fresh apple juice for depth.
We named it when creating a house drink for our Bruce Springsteen-themed Super Bowl party a few years back. (Yes, that one—the game where the Steelers won their sixth ring and Bruce played the halftime show—a watershed night in our house.)
It seems incongruous that I developed this quintessentially warm-weather drink in the dead cold of January, but maybe my mind was on other things, like the hot sun beating on the blacktop, or girls in their summer clothes, or a pretty little place in Southern California down San Diego way….
Since New Jersey is not only Bruce Springsteen’s home state but also the Garden State, the fresh apple juice that gives a little extra something to this rum and lime cocktail pays homage to the fruit orchards of the Boss’s stomping grounds in Monmouth County.
Likewise, mint grows quite well in Jersey soil—maybe not in the depths of winter, but I can attest to its locality. Limes aren’t exactly native to New Jersey, but we’ll give them a pass.
Rum, however, can be—now that everyone and their brother is opening up distilleries around the state. (Hey, it’s been drunk around these parts since they were colonized, so why not continue the tradition?) My favorite is Brinley Gold Shipwreck’s lime rum, made by a New Jersey family-owned company.
Even if you’re not a rum drinker, give me the benefit of the doubt with this one—there’s a subtle sweetness that comes from the rum that you don’t get with vodka, and it does significantly contribute to the smoothness of the drink.
Plus, uh, you can’t have a cocktail named Born to Rum without it!
Lime-Mint Simple Syrup:
- 1/2 cup (100 grams; 3 1/2 ounces) granulated sugar
- zest of 1 lime
- 1 handful fresh mint leaves (about 1/4 cup)
- 1/2 cup water
For the cocktail:
- 1 cup (8 fluid ounces) lime rum or white rum
- 1 cup (8 fluid ounces) fresh lime juice (from about 6 limes)
- 1/2 cup (4 fluid ounces) fresh apple juice
- lime wheels
- mint sprigs
Make the simple syrup:
- Heat the sugar, lime, mint, and water in a small saucepan over medium heat. Stir occasionally to help the sugar dissolve.
- When the liquid comes to a simmer, remove from the heat and cover.
- Let steep for 30 minutes, then strain through a fine-mesh strainer.
To make the drink:
- Stir the cooled, strained simple syrup with the rum, lime juice, and apple juice in a large (at least 3-quart) pitcher.
- At this point, the drink can be made up to 8 hours in advance. Chill until ready to serve.
- When you're ready to serve, fill the pitcher completely with ice.
- Allow guests to pour into cocktail glasses and garnish with lime wheels and mint sprigs.