Say it with me now: Shisoito. That's She. Sew. Eeto. In other words, what you get when Shiso Tavern, the new Asian-fusion restaurant in Canton, takes the typical Latin-American Mojito recipe and moves it further East — Japanese style.
So what makes the Shiso Mojito special enough to have its own whimsical nickname (credit Dana Morris, bar manager and the cocktail's creator, with that one)? It's all in the herb.
Shiso, a Japanese basil, is a subtle mint-flavored leaf that general manager Tim Ernst says is often used as a green garnish in sushi dishes. Morris thought the subtle flavor profile of the leaf would work well as a specialty cocktail. But Morris decided to let fresher ingredients take the place of the normal sugar cane-muddled recipe.
Instead, she created her own lime-infused rum, lightly sweetened with simple syrup as a base. Then she decided to make the Shisoito customizable. Strawberries and blueberries are always in stock. Or ask Morris what she keeps behind the bar; they'll make you one with the fruit of the week as well. When I was there, she was making them with Clementines; the week before, kumquats. I tried the strawberry and was surprised by the extremely clean flavor — the lime rum and natural sweetness of the fruit are held together by the simple, lemony taste of muddled shiso and a splash of soda water.
On a hot day, it was almost too much to show polite restraint when drinking the Shiso Mojito. Pair it with a few sushi rolls and you've got the makings of a great summertime meal — fresh, light, and cool.
How to Make a Shiso Mojito (Shisoito)
2 parts lime-infused rum
1 Shiso leaf
Fresh fruit (your choice)
1 lime wedge
1/2 part soda water
1/2 part lemon-lime soda
Muddle lime with shiso leaf, ice, fresh fruit and rum. Pour into glass, top with soda water and lemon-line soda. Stir and serve.
Where to Get a Shiso Mojito
2933 O'Donnell St., Canton
$8; $5 during happy hour (4-6 p.m. Wednesday-Sunday)Copyright © 2014, The Baltimore Sun