There is only one place in Little Rock to get a true, honest-to-goodness mojito, and that is at La Terraza Rum & Lounge in Hillcrest. Truth be told, over the course of this pandemic, I have downed my fair share of them while lounging on their outdoor deck.
But what separates these mojitos from many of the others out there?
“The secret is in the fresh ingredients. Truly muddling the mint, sugar, and limes makes a big difference too,” says co-owner Sarah Bolanos.
Another separator is the number of different flavors the restaurant offers.
Says Bolanos, “We currently have eleven different mojito flavors, including traditional. We host an annual event the beginning of each year, Mojito Mania (pre-pandemic), where we test a fun new flavor which is potentially added to the menu. We also celebrate National Mojito Day on July 11, and National Rum Day August 16.”
The flavors include: Traditional Spicy, Black Spiced (made with Kraken Black Spiced Rum and cayenne pepper), coconut, mango, pineapple, raspberry, black cherry, ginger (made with Smith & Cross Jamaican Rum, and Venezuelan (made with Diplomatico Mantuano).
“We use El Dorado 3 Year and Cruzan flavored rums for the fruity mojitos, and we also use the fruit. For our ginger mojito, we infuse fresh minced ginger in the rum,” says Bolanos.
I recently tried the Spiced Mojito for the first time and absolutely loved the cocktail. Prepared with a dark Venezuelan rum (Pampero Anniversario), along with cayenne pepper and ginger beer, this drink has the perfect balance of sweet and heat. The ginger beer adds a little zip from the carbonation, making for a refreshing, well-balanced cocktail.
As for Sarah’s personal favorite?
“My favorite is the Ginger Mojito, but the majority of our staff has a different favorite. That is how you know all of the mojitos are good. No one can agree on the best flavor.”
I need to continue with my “research” to figure out which one reigns supreme. In the meantime, I suggest going to check out the restaurant for yourself, not only for one of their mojitos but also for the food. Crafting authentic Venezuelan dishes is another area where La Terraza continues to shine. Even if you are not super hungry, the deck is such a tranquil spot to enjoy a mojito with one of La Terraza’a appetizers or small plates. The mild-flavored yuca frita is an ideal complement to one of the spicier mojitos, as is a gorgeous plate of Carpaccio de Lomito. This beef tenderloin is sliced paper thin and served with mushrooms, Parmesan, black pepper, and basil aioli.
And if you do have a big appetite, order the La Piedra Lava. This 14-ounce New York strip steak is served rare and continues to cook throughout the meal over a piping hot lava rock; served with a variety of dipping sauces and a side of yuca frita. The dish is fun. Now that I think of it, everything about La Terraza is fun, but always maintaining that relaxed neighborhood vibe.
Did I mention the mojitos?