A favourite of writer Ernest Hemingway, who spent lots of time in La Bodeguita del Medio sipping mojitos during his time in Cuba, the mojito is one of the world’s classic cocktails.
The exact origins of the minty Cuban cooler have become hazy over time. Some have traced it back to 1586 and a medicinal drink named after the Elizabethan explorer, Sir Francis Drake. The story goes that he invented the cocktail aboard his ship where he mixed mint with cane spirit, sugar and lime to make a drink to relieve fever and colds.
However, some maintain that the mojito was invented after the Americans visited Cuba’s bars during Prohibition, introducing the locals to the mint julep (made with mint, sugar and bourbon).
Whatever the complexities of its heritage are, this refreshing cocktail of rum, lime, mint leaves, sugar and soda water has become wildly popular in recent years and is the perfect summer drink.
To bring a touch of the Cuban spirit to the UK, Havana Club is running a series of events throughout the summer. Find an event near you.
These bars in the capital have mastered the Cuban cocktail (both classic and with a twist). It’s time to get out and about and sip in style…
The Lost Angel, Battersea
The Lost Angel
Style: Bringing a bit of glamour to Battersea Park Road, this is a real neighbourhood joint. It has an impressive cocktail list too. Wear: Something chic but effortless Take: A date Do say: "Let’s head to the garden" Don’t say: "The cocktail combinations don’t sound like they’ll work" – because they really do Web: www.lostangel.co.uk
The Fentiman Arms, Oval
The Fentiman Arms
Style: Clean cut and tasteful, this smart gastropub is popular with the locals. Don’t be put off by the size – it’s bigger than it looks from the outside. Wear: Smart casual – this is a popular after-work haunt with the City boys Take: Your food-loving friends Do say: "Shall we stay for dinner?" Don’t say: "It’s a bit packed in here" Web:www.geronimo-inns.co.uk/london-the-fentiman-arms
The Cuban, Camden
Style: With a mile-long bar, bright red booths, regular DJs and live Cuban music, this is the place to go for some Havana culture. Wear: Your dancing shoes Take: A date Do say: "Cuba comes to London" Don’t say: "I fancy an early night" Web:www.thecuban.co.uk
Grand Union, Chancery Lane
Style: A fun and vibrant party bar with floral wallpaper, neon signs and quirky knick-knacks. It also has a late-night licence for every day of the week - who says you can't party on a school night? Wear: Your best boardroom-to-bar ensemble Take: A big group of friends Do say: "Let’s check out the alfresco area" Don’t say: "I’m just popping in for a quick one" Web:grandunionbars.com/venue/chancery-lane
Style: With gloriously glazed bricks, wooden floors and vintage bar mats you’ll want to take home with you, this intimate basement bar is the perfect spot to catch up with friends. Wear: Your hipster best Take: Your beardiest East London pal Do say: "I like my drinks in 1940s milk bottles" Don’t say: "I’m hungry" (they don't serve food but the drinks more than make up for it) Web:www.rubysdalston.com
The Fire Stables, Wimbledon
The Fire Stables
Style: The exposed brickwork, comfy leather sofas and large open fireplace gives this traditional gastropub its cosy feel. Wear: Something comfy and casual Take: The whole family Do say: "Shall we stay for another?" Don’t say: "I don’t like pub grub" Web:www.firestableswimbledon.co.uk
The Queen Adelaide, Wandsworth
The Queen Adelaide
Style: Light, bright yet still traditional, the warm atmosphere makes it an ideal spot to spend your weekend. Wear: Your Sunday best Take: The whole gang Do say: "Let’s head to the garden" Don’t say: "Where are the bare bricks?" Web:www.thequeenadelaide.co.uk