Little Rock has plenty of good options for cocktails in the city; in fact, it probably has more than it should for a community our size. Want great margaritas? Local Lime, The Fold and Heights Taco & Tamale Co. have you covered. How about a quality old fashioned? You’d be hard pressed to find better versions than the ones at South on Main or Capital Bar and Grill. All around town there are very strong options for libations of all varieties.
But there’s really only one place in town that truly specializes in rum-based cocktails, specifically mojitos. La Terraza Rum and Lounge opened late last year and brought to the bar two very capable mojitos, including a spiced version that made our list for best drinks of 2015. Now, owner Armando Bolaños is more settled into the space and ready to flex his muscles a little bit with a complete lineup of mojito options that is going to make its customers very happy.
When the Bolaños family messaged me about the new menu, the only mojito they mentioned specifically by name was the new ginger mojito. I can see how this one has already grown in popularity. The cocktail starts with Don Q Cristal rum and uses both dried and fresh ginger to infuse flavor. Of course, all mojitos are made with muddled lime, mint and cane sugar, and this one is no exception. This is one refreshing drink, bright and sharp with some slightly spicy notes that dance on the tongue. Every now and then, you get a tiny nibble of fresh ginger in a sip, and that only serves to awaken your palate further. This is a mojito for mojito lovers, and one that is perfect for the summertime.
Those of you with sweeter tendencies might want to give the coconut mojito a try. La Terraza uses real coconut in a housemade syrup that blends with Malibu rum, lime and mint. This one is the lightest mojito on the menu, with plenty of bold coconut flavor that knocks back without resistance. You might even be asking yourself if the bartender forgot the alcohol, so smooth and easily it goes down.
Probably my favorite mojito from La Terraza’s new lineup is the pineapple mojito, largely because it uses the excellent Plantation Stiggins Fancy Pineapple Rum in its recipe. Along with some light rum and fresh pineapple, this mojito was just pleasant. The pineapple comes through in an obvious way, but it never throws the balance of the drink off. Potent and delicious, this one is perfect for sipping on La Terraza’s tremendous patio on a warm summer evening.
If you’re thinking there’s a trend here of simply incorporating fruit into the mojito, well, you aren’t far off. Case in point: the new raspberry mojito. This is one that I didn’t know whether the combination would work. As it turns out, the tartness and sweetness of the raspberry played off both the lime and rum effortlessly and made for a gorgeous drink that I’d happily order more than once. This is one mojito that depends on having fresh berries on hand, so it likely won’t last the entire summer.
There are two things you should know about all of La Terraza’s mojitos. First, they are not strained. All of the pulp from the lime and crushed fruit is still there in the drink. Usually, I’m not a fan of unstrained cocktails, but I thought the pulp and chunks of fruit actually worked in favor of these mojitos. These feel like drinks that pay homage to the heritage of mojitos rather than a modern, by-the-book cocktail. Second, there are many more than we could mention here. Bolaños told me he has mojitos made with mango, blackberry, passionfruit, blueberry and many other flavors that will run as specials from week to week. Keep an eye on La Terraza’s Facebook page for the latest mojito special. And you should also ask the bartender what special mojitos that can be made that day. Depending on what fresh fruit came to the restaurant that day, you could be finding yourself enjoying your new favorite mojito in a way you had never thought of before.