Drink of the month: mojito
Last year's New Year's dissolution turned into quite a mission, and it wasn't until late December that I managed to have a drink at every bar in central Wellington. That left me wondering what to do this year: a drink in every bar in Greater Welllington? A coffee in every café? Something that's actually good for me?
Surely you jest. In the end I decided not to decide, or to decide upon a much looser task. Each month I shall choose a "drink of the month", and while not attempting some sort of ridiculously obsessive quest to drink one everywhere, I will sample enough establishments to get a representative cross-section of the drinking landscape. Each month's drink should be seasonally appropriate (e.g. a Mai Tai in summer, port in winter, Champagne in December), and while many of them will be cocktails, that won't always be the case. Some of them may even be non-alcoholic (tea?), but the key will be to choose a drink that offers some variety or requires some skill to make.
I'll kick off the year with the mojito. What?! Isn't that a bit hackneyed? Yes, and that's precisely the point: now that everyone and their dog can make a mojito, its ubiquity should make for an interesting range of results. While clichéd beyond boredom, it's still a damned good summer drink, and I'm determined that we will get a summer in January (unlike last month, which was more suited to mulled wine).
The Guardian has declared war on it ("the mojito has become the cocktail of choice for the noisy and notably undiscerning crowds of revellers who stream out of offices and off trains for a Big Night and will probably be found at midnight blundering about the streets, either shouting wahey and trying to pull a policeman or hysterically dialling the numbers of exes stored on their mobiles"). The "vodka professor" says that it's "one of the world's great drinks, but right now, bartenders wish it wasn't - they're sick to death of making them". Most damningly, the Dominion Post declared it "the drink of 2006". So, I'd better do a mojito round-up before it's too late.
But before we declare "no mo' mojito", I'd like your recommendations for where to get the best and worst in Wellington. Havana's an obvious goodie, I had an appalling one at Go Go (tonic?!), and anywhere with an outdoor area (St Johns, Southern Cross) should be worth a try, since a mojito's at least as much about drinking in the sun as it is about rum, lime and mint. Share your mojito raves and horror stories, and I'll try to fit them into January's mojito mosh.