Worst Mojito Ever
My daughter introduced us to Mojito's at the Samba Room in Dallas. My wife and I found it to be our favorite warm weather cocktail (about 9 months a year in south Texas) and soon perfected our own favorite recipe for home use.
So far so good. The problem ensues when we order them at bars/restaurants, about 50-75% range from great to drinkable with the balance being an ungodly concoction not fit for human consumption. Our personal worst involved a combination of Creme de Menthe ("sorry, we have no mint") and Dr Pepper. Recently I had a bartender tell me he uses bottled lime juice and adds Vermouth!
There seems to be little consistency when it comes to this cocktail, resulting in my usually ordering some less pleasing alternative.
It's not just the Mojito that has this problem (although it is certainly one of the worst cases given its popularity and the fact that bartenders -should- know how to make one).
I think that unless a place actually specializes in cocktails, a drink like a Mojito is going to be a gamble at best, and most likely a disappointment. There are too many moving parts. What kind of rum are they using? What ratio of strong to sweet to sour? Fresh lime juice or Rose's? How do they handle the mint? Google the Mojito and you'll find actual debates on the best way to muddle -- or not to muddle -- the mint. And how much soda water do they add? A bartender who cares will think through these things carefully and produce an exquisite drink. But alas, most bartenders couldn't care less.
When the least bit in doubt, it's probably much better to stick with a beer... I was recently served a "Between the Sheets" (brandy, rum, Cointreau, lemon juice, shaken, strained, served up) in a pint glass, on the rocks. The drink was neon green and fizzy. And tasted indescribably sticky yet strong at the same time. I sent it back. And the only reason I ordered it was that the restaurant in question listed it on its "special drinks" menu. Special, indeed!
complicated cocktails are best avoided when out unless there is a well-earned reputation.
and even then if it's the sort of place that's been around forever and has changed hands 5 times, corners are likely cut.
"Home of the _____!"
most bartenders only know how to pour a shot and mix with the nozzle or use a ready made batch - realistically the bulk of sales is a beer or a glass of wine - they just don't know any better (bless their hearts...). this is changing, but it is an almost lost art diluted (sorry) by the impulse to refer to so many things as a martini variation.
after all this started with the ill-informed Cocktail Nation thing in the mid-90's I say we scour old books and play "Stump the Bartender" and then settle for a Boilermaker.
stick to basics when out is my motto.