Gallery: Basil makes for a fragrant cocktail in Morro Bay [3 Images] Click any image to expand.
Basil makes for a fragrant cocktail in Morro Bay
by Judith Menezes
Morro Bay: the rock, the sea breeze and, oh, the view.
Add a basil mojito from Dorn’s Original Breakers Cafe and you have a winning combination: a relaxing escape, a little slice of heaven and a few perfect moments away from the fray.
Dorn’s basil mojito, sweet with just the right amount of tartness, is an inventive twist on the traditional mint mojito. The basil complements the citrus and rum flavors without being overwhelming. The drink is flavorful, earthy, fresh and a fitting last taste of summer (though at Dorn’s it is offered year-round.)
For those who like cocktail history, the mojito is a Cuban cocktail, and its history is rich with theories. The name may have come from the African word mojo, which means to “cast a little spell,” according to the Havana Journal. Or the name may have derived from the Spanish word mojadito (Spanish for "a little wet"). Some sources say the first known use of the word was in 1934. At any rate, it was Ernest Hemingway’s favorite drink when he visited Cuba.
Dorn’s mojito is made with Bacardi light rum, fresh basil, fresh-squeezed lime juice, sweet and sour and simple syrup. It is shaken and served with a splash of soda on the rocks and a garnish of lime. Simple but wonderful.
Dorn’s may be the perfect place to partake of this cocktail. The restaurant is on a slight hill and looks down on the Embarcadero, a wonderful vantage point from which to people watch, see boats go by and observe kayakers making their way toward the craggy rock. You might even catch a game of chess played on a giant set below in Centennial Parkway, operated by the City of Morro Bay. (Trivia: The Staunton chessboard was built from two redwood water tanks that served the city for 50 years. The chess pieces are almost three feet tall and weigh 18 to 30 pounds.)
Chris Dorn, manager of the family-owned restaurant, says one of the bartenders created the drink almost by accident after drinking basil lemonade. He says the drink is “super popular. Basil has a nice taste to it. Mint can taste like toothpaste.”
The basil mojito is an anytime drink, appropriate for brunch or afternoon and evening cocktails. Dorn’s is comfortable inside and out--there is not a bad table in the place--but go for the patio, where you will find comfortable redwood tables and chairs, succulents in big pots, red geraniums and a great view of the big rock.
As you sip your mojito, delight in the ambiance, take a few deep breaths and feel the rest of the world melt away.
Dorn’s Original Breakers Cafe is located at 801 Market Ave. in Morro Bay. (From Highway 1, take the Morro Bay Boulevard exit.) It is open seven days a week for breakfast, lunch and dinner. For more information, go to dornscafe.com or call (805) 772-4415.