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Drinking & Dancing

Mojitos Under The Microscope
By Kevin O’Flynn
Issue 7
June 10 - July 8, 2004

Mojito is the perfect summer cocktail — light, refreshing and deceptively alcoholic. The cocktail is originally from Cuba and Ernest Hemingway is said to have sipped on it more than once.

Like any cocktail, there are various theories on the best way to make a mojito, but the general idea is to grind some lime juice, sugar and mint together — the idea being to get the mint oil to mix with the lime and the sugar — then add white rum (Cuban or Bacardi Limon is usually recommended), ice and soda water. Moscow clubs and bars are getting a bit dizzy with their array of cocktails and mojitos are one of the standards.



Going to Che seemed a good idea in order to set a standard to compare the rest. Che has a nice bar where you can sit and watch the barman hard at work crushing the mint leaves. Che’s mojito didn’t let down the name of the hero of the Cuban revolution — the club/restaurant served up probably the most genuine mojito. Using Havana Club rum, it comes in a good 250-milliliter portion with a real kick. The addition of swiveling hips and Latino music helps create an atmosphere that fits the drink. Goes especially well with the hot chicken wings. Shame there’s no summer garden to enjoy with the summer drink.

Price: 200 rubles



Vision is a new cocktail bar on Novy Arbat with a great view from its huge windows. While sipping on my cocktail, I was treated to a film of exploding atomic bombs and buildings collapsing onto each other. The mojito was by far the biggest I’d ever seen, but so was the price, a rather daunting 500 rubles. It comes in one of those large cocktail-shaker glasses that probably seemed a good idea at the time, but unless you like to do sexy things with straws, as one mojito drinker did, then it’s a bit awkward to drink. Plenty of alcohol — Bacardi rather than Cuban — but the lemonade rather than soda made it a bit too sweet.

Price: 500 rubles



If you have the desire to introduce any child to the delights of mojitos, then this is the place. This 200-milliliter concoction looked more like a Slush Puppy than a cocktail, with an odd overdose of crushed ice and mint turning it into a strange, if not displeasing sludge. Perhaps it was a tribute to the garden just outside, but it had everyone guessing what it was. Spinach shake? Asparagus dip? On the good side, you can drink it all as quickly as you like and it is actually pretty good — even if it is not for purists. Price-wise, it was about the average for a Moscow mojito. Best of all, you can drink outside when the weather’s good.

Price: 220 rubles


Red Bar

Sit back and relax as you stare out the enormous windows and take in the spectacular view from the 27th floor. After Che, this place has the most enjoyable mojito, as well as being the most sophisticated, if pompous, cocktail bar visited for this survey. Red Bar’s mojito is a bit too expensive for what you get, but it pulls off the basics very well. Strong at first, it then takes on a nice mellow tone with ample ice and mint. The only minor grudge was the slices of lemon, rather than lime in the glass. And unfortunately they won’t allow you out onto the balcony to enjoy your mojito.

Price: 10 conditional units, or 350 rubles

10/2 Nikolskaya Ul. (M. Lubyanka)
921-8117/ 7477, 24 hours

Red Bar
23a Nab. Taras Shevchenko (M. Kutuzovskaya)
27th floor of Moskva City Business Center, 730-0808, 6pm-3am

Vision Cocktail Hall
11 Novy Arbat, Building 1 (M. Arbatskaya)
727-3230, Sun.-Wed. 11am-2am, Thu.-Sat. 11am-6am

28 Prospekt Mira (M. Prospekt Mira)
280-2833, noon-5am

Today's Gigs
20:00 - Subelectronica with Boris Romanov aka DJ OnLee plus special guests: non-lounge electronic music, uptempo, leftfield
Live concerts, special projects
The Routes


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