Cocktails & Spirits

Ten Best Mojitos in Miami

After days of rain, we are finally back to sunny South Florida weather. And that means it's time to cool off outside with the beloved mojito, Miami's unofficial drink, which captures summer year-round.

No other libation is as emblematic of the Magic City as this one, offering a refreshing mint kiss, unique blend of flavors, and distinctive Latin origins sure to shake you. As beaches, bars, and alfresco terraces begin buzzing with snowbirds and locals looking for a tropical time out, this classic Cuban import is the perfect escape to paradise.

A South Florida beverage menu without a mojito is hard to find. And if you've never had a mojito while in Miami, well, that's just unforgivable. So wash down your next frita cubana with one of the 305's ten best concoctions made with muddled mint, white rum, lime, and sugar — because who doesn't love a little rum persuasion?

10. Mojito Bar
Venture into the tourist trap that is Bayside Marketplace in downtown Miami and you'll find Mojito Bar (401 Biscayne Blvd., Miami), where hip meets old Havana. Think upbeat music, hand-rolled cigars, and patrons in white linen guayaberas. Sip the minty, DonQ Cristal rum-infused refreshments that range from classic to passionfruit, mango, and blueberry, starting at $9 a pop. Or get more booze for your buck with the champagne mojito ($25), made with DonQ Cristal rum, lime, mint, and sugar that's muddled, shaken, and topped with champagne.

9. Catch Grill & Bar 
These fresh twists on the original Cuban cocktail are cooler than a dip in the deep blue ocean. But a trip to the Marriott's Catch Grill & Bar (1633 N. Bayshore Dr., Coconut Grove) transports you from land to water with its under-the-sea-themed decor and food. Dive into a tall, refreshing glass of the hotel eatery's signature Naked mojito ($13), with house-infused Naked Turtle rum, shaken with muddled mint, fresh-squeezed lime, house-made simple syrup, and soda. Strawberry, pineapple, melon, and mixed-berry flavors also complement Catch's salt 'n' pepper calamari ($13) and Key West conch fritters ($10).

8. Tap Tap
Cuba's neighbor to the east, Haiti masters a delightful twist on the mojito, as showcased by South Beach's go-to spot for authentic Haitian cuisine, which, by the way, has quite the colorful setting (819 Fifth St., Miami Beach). What makes Tap Tap's mojito different from its Cuban influencer is its use of dark Barbancourt Five-Star Haitian Rhum. For $8, guests get to explore a different kind of depth and vibrance uncommon in the original.    

7. Segafredo Zanetti Espresso Café
Skip the Bahama Mama and Miami Vice and indulge in another kind of sin too sweet to pass up — the frozen lychee mojito, a blend of Bacardi Limón, Soho lychee, lychee juice, lime juice, sugar, and mint leaves. It's summer in your mouth. This Italian café-turned-snazzy-lounge at night (1421 S. Miami Ave., Miami) is loved by Brickell denizens for its European-inspired tapas, upbeat music, and to-die-for cocktails. Segafredo serves a hauntingly delicious frozen creation — Death by Chocolate — that comes second only to the spot's wide range of mojitos ($10 each). 

6. Larios on the Beach
Nestled in 820 Ocean Dr. in South Beach, this legendary establishment by Emilio and Gloria Estefan, AKA the King and Queen of Miami, is as Miami as it gets. Enjoy award-winning Cuban comfort cuisine like juicy lechón and vaca frita, views of Miami Beach's most famous avenue, and Larios' highly buzzed-about mojitos. Try different variations on the classic, including guava, pineapple, and watermelon, for $15 per glass. For the same price, try the Cojito mojito — which combines fresh mint leaves, lime juice, pineapple juice, piña colada mix, and Bacardi Rock Coconut rum with a dash of club soda, served with a coconut-flaked rim — or the Calle Ocho mojito for a taste of premium Botran rum. Regardless of your beverage of choice, each mojito comes with a stick of sugarcane for a sweet and authentic Cuban journey.

5. SushiSamba 
Given Samba's sleek, citrus-hued space and effortless fusion of Japanese, Peruvian, and Brazilian cuisines, it's difficult to ignore the force that beckons sandy-foot patrons and cosplay partygoers into this Lincoln Road outpost (600 Lincoln Rd., Miami Beach). Before you browse flavorful ceviches, creative sushi rolls, and other mouthwatering options, go straight for the mojito supremo ($14). It's made with Zafra — a 21-year-old Panamanian elixir filled with tropical fruit and spice notes — rum, lime juice, and fresh mint leaves and topped with Zonin prosecco.

4. Ortanique on the Mile
At the helm of Miracle Mile's quintessential eatery, Cindy Hutson offers guests an innovative fusion of Caribbean and New World cuisine that is served in a refined, island-like ambiance. The Coral Gables outpost (278 Miracle Mile) serves mouthwatering creations like Caribbean seared ahi tuna ($33) and West Indian curried fresh jumbo lump crabcake ($18). But the bar is where all the magic happens. Its shining elixir, the Ortanique mojito ($13), is an impeccable blend of Bacardi Superior rum, fresh lime, spearmint, and a splash of what the restaurant calls "Ortanique magic." Take one sip and see. 

3. Tarpon Bend Raw Bar & Grill 
Tarpon Bend's budget-friendly raw bar and coastal cooking make it one of Coral Gables' most popular restaurants. However, the drinks are one of the main attractions. Located at 65 Miracle Mile, Tarpon Bend infuses Bacardi rum with summertime flavors like watermelon, pineapple, and blackberry. Any day here is a good one, but Thursdays are even better because of Mojito Madness, when these thirst-quenching cocktails sell for $3.50 each — all day. You're welcome.

2. Havana Harry's
There are plenty of savory Cuban comidas in Miami, but Havana Harry's stands out for its hearty plates of vaca frita de pollo ($11.95), lechonita sandwich ($12.95), guava cheesecake ($6.95), and specialty mojitos ($7) made the old-fashioned way. Taste the passion of Cuba as it comes alive in each glass that even Hemingway himself would've greatly enjoyed at 4612 Le Jeune Rd. in Coral Gables.

1. Sugarcane Raw Bar & Grill
The number one spot blends vegetables and alcohol to make one heckuva drink. Our parents always told us vegetables were good for us. The beet mojito at Sugarcane Raw Bar & Grill (3252 NE First Ave., Miami) probably isn't what they were referring to. This glass of ruby goodness combines muddled mint, beet-infused Bacardi Superior rum, and a sugarcane spear for a daily dose of semihealthiness. Make it to the much-loved midtown restaurant during happy hour, Monday through Friday from 4 to 7 p.m., where mojitos are $7 and pitchers go for $35. Remember: Beets are good for you. So have two. 

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Maureen Aimee Mariano is a freelance food writer for Miami New Times. She earned a bachelor of science in journalism from the University of Florida before making her way back to the 305, the city that first fueled her insatiable appetite.