Think about the mojito — fresh mint sprigs bathed and muddled in thick, sweet simple syrup, drowned in a few ounces of spicy white rum and topped off with chilled, fizzy soda water. Are you thirsty yet?
National Mojito Day is July 11, and to celebrate there are plenty of places ready to make you a perfect mojito. Go classic or with twisted flavors — either way, the refreshing Cuban drink plays well in our humid Des Moines summers.
Mojito at Centro ($8)
If you're feeling traditional, you can't go wrong with a mojito at Centro. Summer days call for cool, sippable cocktails, and the mojito is perfectly suited to beat the heat. Centro combines rum with soda water, creating an effervescent drink flavored with lime wedges and mint leaves. The glass is topped off with ice for a crisp, cool beverage that isn't too sweet or heavy. At Centro, you can enjoy your mojito in the restaurant, or better yet try the bar area for excellent people-watching out the large windows. Add a plate of bruschetta and settle in for a while.
Find it: 1003 Locust St.
Hours: 11 a.m. - 10 p.m. Monday - Thursday, 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. Friday - Saturday, 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Sunday
Info: 515-248-1780, centrodesmoines.com.
Pineapple Mojito at Malo ($9)
Who doesn't love pineapple? The fruit adds a tropical twist to the classic mojito, complementing its mint and lime notes without overpowering them. Made with rum, triple sec, pineapple juice and soda, the drink is a pale yellow in its tall, skinny glass. I found it not-too-sweet and ultra refreshing — perfect for enjoying on the patio at Malo. Mint leaves and pineapple chunks provide garnish, and the mint flavor is subtler than in a classic mojito. Pair the slightly sweet pineapple drink with some spicy tacos.
Find it: 900 Mulberry St.
Hours: 11 a.m. - 11 p.m. Monday - Thursday, 11 a.m. - 12 a.m. Friday - Saturday, 11 a.m. - 9 p.m. Sunday
Info: 515-244-5000, malodesmoines.com
Coconut Mojito at Lime Lounge ($7.50)
A sign outside Lime Lounge proclaims the bar is home to "the best mojito in the world." We can't vouch for that, but we can tell you the coconut mojito is pretty darn good. It includes the regular ingredients — lime, soda and mint — as well as coconut-flavored rum and a slice of sugarcane. It's basically summer in a glass. The coconut puts you in mind of sun-drenched days on the beach, while the mint keeps you refreshed. Lime Lounge will make a mojito with almost any flavor, such as raspberry or peach.
Find it: 435 E. Grand Ave.
Hours: 2 p.m. - 2 a.m. Monday - Saturday, 2 p.m. - 12 a.m. Sunday
Info: 515-333-4643, limelounge.com.