Best Of Chicago

Best Mojitos In Chicago

June 26, 2013 7:00 AM

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Photo Credit: Thinkstock

Photo Credit: Thinkstock

One of Ernest Hemingway’s favorite beverages, the mojito is a rather simple drink that can be a pain in the keister for bartenders.  In addition to white rum, sugar and sparkling water, an authentic mojito requires freshly squeezed lime juice and muddled mint, a couple of steps that can slow down a bar on a busy Saturday night. Some use substitutes that monkey with the flavor and essence of this traditional Cuban highball. You won’t get any attitude from the mixologists at these Chicago spots. They love concocting their creative and classic renditions of the refreshing mojito.

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 Best Mojitos In Chicago

Seasonal fruit mojito (Courtesy of Nacional 27)

Nacional 27
25 W. Huron St.
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 664-2727
www.nacional27.com

With over a quarter million mojitos muddled, Nacional 27 must be doing something right. N27 versions include its Bacardi light signature, a market mojito with Cruzan rum and freshly muddled seasonal produce and the one that will have you say, “Ole,” – the Lillet with Bacardi, habanero ginger, agave and Lillet. Mojitos here are available by the glass or pitcher.  There’s plenty to go with your drinks from salsa lessons on Thursdays to Miami Nights dancing on Fridays and “Vida 27″ on Saturdays – a hot Latin dance party. When you get hungry, choose items from the 27 countries comprising Central and South America and the Latino Caribbean islands.

Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club
3700 N. Halsted St.
Chicago, IL 60613
(773) 525-1111
www.kitkatchicago.comAy, mami, Kit Kat Lounge & Supper Club has muchos mojitos. Lip‑syncing, drag queens and bachelorette parties are the main entrees and the mojitos, ranging from authentic to inspired, are fine ways to wash it all down. There’s the classic mojito with Cruzan light rum, lime juice, brown sugar, splash of soda water and fresh mint; pineapple, black cherry, “crazy” banana and mango versions; and an “I’m In Heat Mojito” that tosses together Cruzan pineapple and coconut rum, lime juice, brown sugar, soda and fresh mint. Food includes fun small plates, salads, “Show Stopper” entrees sporting names like the Cary Grant and Joan Collins, plus daily specials and a Diva Brunch.

 Best Mojitos In Chicago

Carnivale Dining Room (Courtesy of Carnivale)

Carnivale
702 W. Fulton St.
Chicago IL 60661
(312) 850-5005
www.carnivalechicago.comIf Carnivale’s party atmosphere, vivid colors, wild design and sturdy mojitos don’t make you want to shake your hips, check your pulse.  Mojitos have remained a top seller since the restaurant opened in no small part due to the quality of ingredients (Carnivale has a rooftop garden)Bar Manager, Daryl Freeman, says“Mojitos are not only delicious, they are also fun to make and can be easily created at home.” Check the web for Carnivale “University” classes and demos that often involve mixology.

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Havana
412 N. Clark St.
Chicago, IL 60654
(312) 644-1900
www.havanachicago.comIn addition to the traditional mojito, which is its house drink, Havana offers guava, mango, peach and coconut versions that will light your fire and get some vitamins A and C into you. Take advantage of the $20 mojito pitchers on Friday nights. What to eat with your Cuban beverage?  A Cubano sandwich and fries served with chimichurri for dipping, a Cuban salad, steak Cubano, roasted pork Cuban style, chicken a la Cubana – you get the picture – hey, this is Havana, after all.  Live Latin music on Friday and Saturday nights keeps the bar busy muddling and the entire space fragrant with mint.

(Credit: Paladar Cuban Restaurant/Rum Bar's facebook)

(Credit: Paladar Cuban Restaurant/Rum Bar’s facebook)

Paladar
2252 N. Western Ave.
Chicago, IL 60647
(773) 252-4747
www.paladarchicago.com

Cuba’s soulful food and refreshing mojitos can be found on Western Avenue at Paladar. Family recipes like goat stew, oxtails, picadillo, roasted pork and ropa vieja are perfectly paired with cucumber, aloe, mango, coconut and classic mojitos. Check the website for which days of the week you can knock a buck off the price of the Cuban drink, too. Recently transplanted from Milwaukee Avenue to Western Avenue, the new outdoor patio is muy bonito and a perfect spot to sip.

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Jacky Runice has been a columnist with the Daily Herald Chicago since grunge music and flannel was the new black. Her fingers and gray matter have been busy as travel editor of Reunions Magazine; penning a column that was syndicated around the nation via Tribune Media Services. Her work can be found at Examiner.com.

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