Vancouver bars for freshly muddled mojitos

There’s no doubt that when it comes to cocktails, the mojito is a summertime staple. The rum-based concoction delivers an intoxicating mix of sweet and tart flavours accented with a hint of mint. We’re big fans of the classic recipe, but sometimes it pays to muddle with a good thing. These Vancouver bars are reinventing the traditional Cuban drink and turning out some delightfully refreshing mojitos.

The Reef Restaurant

1
4172 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5V 3P7

This Caribbean-inspired cantina’s colourful décor and tropical plants might have you convinced you’re vacationing in the tropics, if only for a drink or two. Help solidify the vacation fantasy with a classic Cuban mojito made with Havana Club Anejo rum, fresh mint, lime, sugar and soda. For something a little different, try the mo-gingerito, which substitutes the soda with refreshingly spicy house-made ginger beer. For a sweet variation, the mo-jita features Bacardi raspberry rum, mint, raspberries, lime, sugar and soda. Drop in during happy hour from 4:00 pm to 6:00 pm daily to pair your mojito with discounted bar snacks.

Havana

2
1212 Commercial Dr, Vancouver, BC V5L 3X4

It’s no surprise that the mojitos at Havana have earned a place on this list. Named for Cuba’s capital city, this Commercial Drive restaurant is beloved for its Nuevo Latin cuisine, flavourful cocktails and all-season patio. Mojito fans are spoiled for choice here as the menu boasts five unique riffs on the national drink; we suggest visiting with a group so you can sample each of the flavourful adaptations. The White Sands mojito has a tropical taste courtesy of the coconut rum, fresh mango and pineapple juice. Alternatively, the seasonal watermelon mojito is a sweet variant made with watermelon liquor.

Baru Latino

3
2535 Alma St, Vancouver, BC V6R 3R8

Nestled in the West Point Grey neighbourhood, this cozy lounge is sure to entice you with its moody ambiance and award-winning Latin fare – the tangy ceviche is a must try. Available on the rocks or blended, mint-infused mojitos are a house specialty here and can be ordered by the glass or the jug-full if you’re dining with a group. The zesty Cuban cocktails are made with Bacardi Superior rum, freshly muddled mint, lemon and lime juice, simple syrup and a splash of sparkling soda water. Seasonal variations showcase locally sourced fresh fruit like raspberries, grilled pineapples and blood oranges.

Vij's

4
3106 Cambie Street, Vancouver, BC V5Z 2W2

Vij Vikram needs no introduction. His highly acclaimed Indian-fusion restaurant has earned countless awards, inspired numerous spin-off restaurants and cookbooks, and has helped turn the local Vancouver chef into an international celebrity. Here the traditional Cuban cocktail gets a delightful South Asian twist with the addition of regionally inspired spices and fruits. The aptly named Indian mojito has a sweet, liquorice-like taste thanks to the mix of house-roasted star anise along with mango and lychee liqueurs. You might have to wait upwards of two hours to snag a seat at this in-demand eatery, but we promise it’s worth the wait.

The Diamond

5
6 Powell St, Vancouver, BC V6A 1E7

This Gastown bar isn’t exactly a well-kept secret, but it still manages to retain a cool, speakeasy vibe. Housed on the second level of a century-old building, the welcoming space is outfitted with exposed brick walls, crystal ceiling chandeliers and a handsome wooden bar stocked with just about every type of spirit you can imagine. The Diamond’s award-winning bartenders take their cocktails very seriously; drinks are handcrafted, creative and potent. In lieu of the classic mojito, try a Colin’s Lawn, which features sake, mint, lime, Pernod, orgeat (a sweet syrup made with almonds and rose water) and soda water.

The Cascade Room

6
2616 Main St, Vancouver, BC V5T 3E6

There are plenty of tipples to taste on the Cascade Room’s ambitious cocktail menu, all prepared with at least 2 oz. of booze, fresh fruit and house-made syrups and cordials. Recipes range from Golden Age vintage classics to contemporary new concoctions. The traditionally prepared mojitos are a refreshing and refined option that won’t disappoint. Cuban rum is muddled with fresh mint, lime wedges and caster sugar and then served in a tall glass over crushed ice topped with soda.

Revel Room Holdings Ltd The

7
238 Abbott St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2K8

Looking for a little bit of NOLA in the heart of Gastown? Southern-style revelry is always on the menu at this Abbot Street supper club, thanks in part to the spirited drink list. You might be tempted to opt for the cocktail roulette (select your preferred spirit and flavour profile and the skilled bartenders will surprise you with a custom concoction) but if you’re looking for a trusted standby, you can’t go wrong with a classic mojito. For booze-free revellers, the non-alcoholic “nojito” is a delectable mocktail made with pressed apple juice, muddled mint, sugar, lime and soda.

Minami Restaurant

8
1118 Mainland St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2T9

Minami’s open kitchen, vibrant wall murals and lively crowd will make for an unforgettable evening – depending on how many cocktails you have, of course. Sushi and mojitos aren’t necessarily an obvious pairing, but the bartenders at this Yaletown hotspot have created a Japanese interpretation of the classic summertime drink that works well with the flame-seared sushi on the menu. The unique drink features sochu (a starchy Japanese spirit), lime and shiso leaves instead of the customary mint. Sip the cocktail alongside a few signature dishes, such as the Aburi salmon oshi sushi, which features flame-seared salmon and jalapeños.

MARKET by Jean-Georges

9
1128 Georgia St W, Vancouver, BC V6E 0A8

Fine dining’s done right at Jean-Georges Vongerichten's upscale restaurant inside the swanky Shangri-La Hotel. Whether you’re imbibing alfresco on the partially covered patio or enjoying the elegant dining room, a mojito makes the perfect start (or finish) to a meal. The cocktail specials change every few months or so in order to show off fresh fruit sourced form nearby farms. Previous mojito incarnations have included a Hawaiian inspired variant made with fresh pineapple cubes, sprigs of mint and lime puree, and a Thai basil grapefruit mojito made with muddled grapefruit, basil and lemongrass syrup.

Calabash Bistro

10
X1-428 Carrall St, Vancouver, BC V6B 2J7

Calabash boasts the longest rum list in the city (there are 70 different varieties available) so you can guess the spirit of choice on the cocktail list. There’s no mojito on the menu but the Coconut Jumby is a similar drink that – dare we say it – might even be better than the original recipe. The zesty concoction features El Dorado 3 shaken with coconut water, agave syrup, muddled lemongrass, mint and lime. The food menu features Caribbean snack foods designed to soak up boozy libations; we’re talking ackee and saltfish, goat curry roti, fried plantains and more.

Tourism Vancouver’s annual Dine Out Vancouver Festival is back this winter from January 19th to February 4th. The 17-day culinary festival will see some of the city’s hottest restaurants serving an array of mouth-watering prix-fixe menus. If you want to take your significant other for a special meal, plan a date night at one of these romantic eateries. [Photo courtesy of Boulevard/Leila Kwok]
Tourism Vancouver’s Dine Out Vancouver Festival is back this winter from January 19th to February 4th. The 17-day culinary event will see some of the city’s top restaurants serving mouth-watering prix-fixe menus for lunch and dinner. If you’re looking for a kid-approved spot with a casual atmosphere and plenty of choices for picky eaters, book a table at these family-friendly restaurants. [Photo courtesy of Bufala]
Tourism Vancouver’s annual Dine Out Vancouver Festival is back this winter from January 19th to February 4th. The 17-day culinary event provides foodies with a great opportunity to eat at Vancouver’s most acclaimed restaurants for less. If you want an upscale meal in an elegant setting, these high-end spots deliver a great bang for your buck. [Photo courtesy of YEW Seafood + Bar]
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