It’s time to get tropical! Now that summer is in full swing, Sydneysiders are turning to their tried-and-tested ways to cool down: swimming in the ocean aside, the mojito goes down a treat. Refreshing, smooth and punchy all at once, the rum-based cocktail hails from Cuba. As the story goes, Americans discovered it on holidays in the Prohibition era, and started spreading the word (and the recipe).
Whether you like yours traditional or twisted, fruity or spicy, here’s where to sip on the Cuban cocktail this summer.
This cocktail bar is as authentic as it gets. The bartenders were taught by a Cuban about the proper way to make a mojito, and there are 24 types on offer (or you can ask to create your own). The classic is a crowd favourite, as are the passionfruit and pineapple versions. Our pick is the ‘cojito,’ with coconut rum, coconut cream, lime juice, mint and soda water.
3/14 S Steyne, Manly
The 50s décor and live music (on weekends) set the scene for a fun night – and then there are the seven flavours of mojitos. The record stands at a whopping 2,300 for a single Friday night. While the raspberry, passionfruit and spiced mojitos are delicious, the most popular is the Original Mojito, made up of Havana Anejo, lime juice, mint, soda water and crushed ice.
125 York Street, Sydney
Perched 47 floors above street level, the rotating restaurant offers fine dining and creative cocktails. After you’ve admired the scene, order the seasonal favourite, the mango lime mojito, a mix of Bacardi rum, mango, agave nectar, pressed lime and plenty of fresh garden mint. Tangy yet sweet, it’s hard to stop at just one.
Australia Square, 264 George Street, Sydney
In Neutral Bay, Firefly is a much-loved local haunt that whips up some of the best cocktails northside of the bridge. Their lychee and watermelon mojito is a fruity twist on the classic. With Angostura white rum, lychee liqueur, fresh watermelon, mint and lime, it pairs well with bar bites like zucchini fries, wild mushroom arancini and grilled octopus.
24 Young Street, Neutral Bay
While you’re tucking into famous falafel [link] and haloumi [link] dishes at this Middle Eastern-meets-Mediterranean hotspot, savour the pomegranate mojito. Fresh, fruity and vibrantly coloured, it’s a muddled mix of Havana Club Rum, lime, mint, soda and pomegranate pearls. If you’d prefer a mocktail, the booze-free version is just as good.
96 Kepos Street, Redfern
When you’re in the mood for Japanese, treat yourself to a meal at Toko. Its izayaka menu is made for sharing, and features classic dishes like tempura [link to tempura blog], sushi, and nigiri. Once you’ve settled on a few plates, sip on the lychee and jasmine mojito. A longstanding classic, it’s a mix of lychees, mint, lime, Cana Brava rum, and chilled jasmine tea.
490 Crown Street, Surry Hills
With a front row seat to Bondi Beach, The Bucket List was made for Sunday sessions. Go early to grab a table outside, and order up a feast of fresh prawns, fish and chips and salad. Wash it all down with the bar’s best-known cocktail, the passionfruit mojito. A blend of Pampero, mint, lime and passionfruit, it tastes like summer in a glass.
The Bondi Pavilion, Queen Elizabeth Drive, Bondi Beach
Watsons Bay Boutique Hotel
Fronting the harbour, this bar is a magnet for the Eastern Suburbs set, complete with an outdoor ‘Beach Club’ and a nautical, Hamptons-style fitout. When the sun’s out, the place gets packed, so arrive early to score a seat under the stripy umbrellas. Then, order the elderflower mojito, a slightly sweet and uber-refreshing mix of Pampero Blanco rum, elderflower, lime, mint and soda.
1 Military Road, Watsons Bay
Sydney’s bohemian capital, Newtown, is also home to some of the best small bars in the city. Corridor is a standout. Choose between the cosy, candle-lit interior or the sunny back deck, and enjoy the classic mojito with Mount Gay Silver rum and loads of fresh lime and crushed mint. For seriously slashed cocktails, head to the bar during happy hour: Monday to Friday, 5-7pm.
153A King Street, Newtown