Sunday, January 06, 2008

The Best Mojito in the World?

Navutu Stars on the Island of Yaqeta in the Yasawas, Fiji

picture photograph image a mojito made by Noah at the bar of Navutu Stars Yaqeta Yasawa Fiji 2008 copyright of Sam Breach
My first Fijian Mojito made by Navutu Star's popular bartender, Noah

picture photograph image  the bar of Navutu Stars Yaqeta Yasawa Fiji 2008 copyright of Sam Breach
On our first evening at Navutu Stars the Mojito was a "Special" named for fellow guest, fellow Mojito fan (& fellow Brit), Julie*. Every day there would be a different featured cocktail but our hearts were set on the Mojito from the moment we tried it. Long, cool refreshing and perfectly balanced, this was the drink of our vacation. [*Name checking Bob too, else I might be in trouble and believe me, Bob is no stranger to causing trouble].

picture photograph image a the little garden at Navutu Stars Yaqeta Yasawa Fiji 2008 copyright of Sam Breach
Grown in a small garden at the resort (click on picture above to see it), the mint for these Mojitos is as local as it gets. As for the fruit - sometimes limes are used, some times lemons. On this island "bush lemons" grow which have greenish skin and orange flesh. And of course, to sweeten the Mojitos, Fijian-produced golden cane sugar is key.

picture photograph image Varani shaking Mojitos at Navutu Stars Yaqeta Yasawa Fiji 2008 copyright of Sam Breach
Just when you think you might have tasted the best Mojito in the world, it gets even better. Imagine sipping your drink aboard a little boat headed towards the sunset whilst all the time being serenaded by Fijian music.

picture photograph image Varani making Mojitos at Navutu Stars Yaqeta Yasawa Fiji 2008 copyright of Sam Breach
Every mojito is made from scratch with patience, care and attention to detail. It's important that the task is taken slowly. I am fascinated by every move that is made - the tender way the leaves are pulled from the precious mint plants and how the soda is carefully poured into the shaker, to wash out any remaining snatchets of flavour before it is used to top off the glass. Varani (above), Noah and Eta all made us perfect Mojitos every time, vinaka!

picture photograph image Seruvi and grace from Navutu Stars Yaqeta Yasawa Fiji 2008 copyright of Sam Breach
None of the other resort guests signed up for this sunset escapade, so Seruvi and Grace played and sang for our ears only whilst Varani got to work on the second round...

picture photograph image by Frederic Schmidt Mojito ahoy Navutu Stars Yaqeta Yasawa Fiji 2008 copyright of Sam Breach
I returned to the US laden with bags of Fijian sugar and bottles of Fijian rum imagining I could simply replicate this Mojito magic at home using the instructions that Eta had helped me jot down. But a Mojito doesn't taste quite the same on a dark, stormy Saturday night in nippy San Francisco. And as my cocktail-go-to pointed out, Jeffrey Morgenthaler perhaps hit the nail on the head when he decreed "Do not order a mojito when the weather is below 70°F. This is almost as bad as ordering a Bloody Mary after the sun has gone down." I turned up the heating in our apartment, but it didn't make my version of the drink any better. So since you can't come round to mine for the best Mojito in the world, you might have to consider heading to Fiji instead!

QUESTION OF THE DAY graphic copyright sam breach
? When and Where did YOU try your best ever Mojito ?

Previous Posts about Fiji on Becks & Posh (2005)
Coconut Buns
Fijian Indian Food & Bay Area Fijian Food
Pit Stop - On the Road
Fresh Coconut Juice
Catch of the Day
The Sweetest Girl
Exotic Fruits
Forbidden Food
Nature's Communal Oven
Nama Sea Grapes

Other Resources & Further Reading
Kittalog, the Mojito Hunter
A fellow Navutu Stars guest on relaxation and a shark dilemma
The Yasawa Islands on Wikepedia (Tourism only started here 20 years ago!)
Navutu on Flickr
The Hacking Family Sail into the Yasawas
Kayaking the Yasawas
Fiji's Final Frontier

2007 | La Galette des Rois
2006 | Tagi's Golden Syrup Recipe
2005 | English French and Californian Cheese Board

Some viewers might notice over saturation on some of the photographs. We have new software and are still in the process of working through some colour management issues. Thanks for your patience.

© 2008 Sam Breach
The Best Mojito in the World?


  • At 6/1/08 19:24, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Wow, a mojito on a little boat in the middle of the ocean? I might have to change my tune about mojitos during the winter. It's 39 degrees here in Oregon, which means it's got to be summer somewhere, right?

    Great photos, guys.

  • At 6/1/08 19:46, Blogger Kitt said…

    Can I be you, please? That just looks like heaven.

    I try mojitos everywhere (and take pictures). My favorites so far are at Cuba Cuba in Denver, and at The Hobnob in Alameda. You should check out the latter sometime, since it's in your neck of the woods. It's loud, but the food is good, and cheap. Try the cucito, too.

  • At 6/1/08 19:50, Blogger Catherine said…

    great pictures, Sam!
    I've only tried a mojito once, but it was very refreshing.

    Happy New Year!

  • At 6/1/08 21:01, Blogger matt said…

    My best mojito was JUST NOW - looking at those pics, sitting in front of computer while it's pouring rain outside.

    Damn damn damn. THOSE PHOTOS ARE FANTASTIC!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • At 6/1/08 21:17, Blogger Sara, Ms Adventures in Italy said…

    I went to Fiji in 1991 and unfortunately I couldn't drink at that age, but it was lovely and your pictures really bring back memories, especially of the people I met there. Looks like I'll have to return. Is this trip 2 for you or are these pics a remainder from the last one?

  • At 6/1/08 21:31, Blogger Dagny said…

    My fave mojito was at La Bodeguita del Medio in Puerto Vallarta. It's a Cuban place there and yeah, they pour them in bulk but they do so beautifully.

  • At 6/1/08 21:58, Blogger Sam said…

    Jeffrey - please promise me you'll spend one of your winters enjoying a Fijian mojito summer at least once in your life. I can't imagine you'll regret it!

    Kitt - ok - you have the ultimate mojito blog. I have friends who have just moved to Alameda so I am going to write down Hobnob so we can check it ut next time we are there - Thank you - or 'vinaka' as they would say in Fiji.

    Catherine - thank you - I have managed to get the recipe working a bit better now so you'll have to stop by and try your secod chez moi BEFORE I run out of that rum. (it's going fast, I warn you)

    matt - when it rains the good memories become stronger i think?

    sara - this is trip nmber 2 - we couldn't stay away. I think if I had first in 1991 then I might actually living there by now [conversation with Fred a couple of hours ago: "where could we work, what could we do to live in Fiji"]

    Dagny - yes - I know Fiji is hardly Cuba, a country which should probably more realistically lay claim to the 'best mojito in the world' title, but when you have found your own personal heaven, its best not to imagine anything could possibly be better.

  • At 7/1/08 00:35, Blogger ChrisB said…

    I can see my education is sadly lacking as I've never tried a mojito~ poor me but I guess you can't miss what you've never had! Of course you could always send me to Fiji!!

  • At 7/1/08 01:56, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Looks like you had a great time :)

    I had my best Mojito when my friend Regis came back from Cuba with rhum in his luggage. Some was 90 years old we drank without adding anything, some was younger and we made mojitos.

    We installed a hammock in his parents garden and had fun until it was time to leave. The fifteen of us crowded in his 50's parents big vintage yellow car and we came back to Paris laughing and singing by the first pink glow of the morning light.

    Than you for reminding me such good memories!

  • At 7/1/08 03:38, Blogger Caffienated Cowgirl said…

    Oh, you are making me thirsty! I adore mojitos! Although, I must say, the island atmosphere is also appealing right now (so she says while sitting in cold Germany).

    The best mojito I've ever had? At the restaurant, Strelecky Ostrov, in Prague. Go figure :)

  • At 7/1/08 05:45, Blogger Beccy said…

    I've never tried one but after reading your post I'd really like to.

  • At 7/1/08 07:55, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Best Mojito ever was at our wedding party in the Clarence Hotel in Dublin. Not a very authentic location but pretty special, I'm telling you!

    Also had a great champagne mojito (ie made with champagne instead of the soda water!) at the Plaza Athenee hotel in Paris, you know the place where Carrie stayed with the Russian in Sex and the City. Such luxury!

  • At 7/1/08 09:01, Blogger Sunshine said…

    That looks like a dream come true! The best Mojito I've had is in Atlanta at CRU Urban Lounge.

  • At 7/1/08 09:17, Blogger thefoodsnob said…

    Happy New Year!
    No other guests wanted the boat ride?! Wow, lucky for you anyway.
    I started growing mint last year because of mojitos, but you're right, they don't taste the same at home.
    Truly a location drink.
    (Mine was Baby Beach, Aruba. I made it myself.)


  • At 7/1/08 09:29, Blogger One Food Guy said…

    I wish I could be sipping on a mojito in Fiji right now. Although it's a balmy 50 degrees here in Boston (still not warm enough for a mojito.)

    The best Mojito I've ever had was in South Beach, Miami at Hosteria Romana 2 on Ocean Drive. Lots and lots of fresh mint and a huge stick of sugar cane as a garnish. Dee-licious!

  • At 7/1/08 09:56, Blogger nicole said…

    Happy new year!

    I have to say the best mojito (or, err, four) I've had was at the Rumba Cafe in Washington, DC. Nothing else I've had elsewhere can ever quite compare -- though I'd really love try one in Fiji :)

  • At 7/1/08 14:32, Blogger swirlingnotions said…

    Oh my goodness . . . I clicked on the resort link and felt my shoulders de-knot just listening to the music and browsing the photos. What an amazing time you must have had. In answer to your question . . . I'm still searching :-). Happy New Year!

  • At 7/1/08 15:19, Blogger Beth Spotswood said…

    Flytrap was out of mint, so the bartender actually went to the Indian joint next door and got some. It may not have been the best mojito, but the service was sweet...

  • At 7/1/08 15:19, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Can I just tell you I officially hate you? I hate you in that I'm dying to be you right now kind of way so that's ok right?

    Best mojito? Consistently? Orbit Room I'd have to say.

  • At 7/1/08 17:14, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Happy New Year, Sam! Glad you had a great time on Fiji.

  • At 7/1/08 21:44, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Gorgeous pictures and evocation of Mojito memories-places are fuzzy, but I do know they were good times :-) ...Am curious, what kind of camera do you use? I am finally ready to switch from my Nikon N 80, at least for color, to digital SLR and looking for suggestions. Many thx, Susie (from long ago Slow Food class at Tante Maries)

  • At 7/1/08 23:19, Blogger Sam said…

    mum - I wouldn't send you - you'd have to come with me - we're planning on next christmas.

    Del - that's a tough one to top, for sure.

    CC - I love it when smething like that happens - mojitos in Prague - why not - a little more slurpable than an Absinthe!

    Beccy - I will make one for you when you come to stay next.

    Vanessa - well there's a tip - Beccy (above) can get to the Clarence hotel a bit more easly than she can get to me or Fiji - I'll let her know. I am definitely going to try out the champagne trick soon.

    A. sunshine - it is a dream, but it did come true. we made sure of it.

    foodsnob - there were some other guests who wanted it really bad, but they left the day before the trip. I felt bad for them :( They were a lot of fun.

    one food guy - I think for the restof my life I'll be wishing I was on a beach in Fiji!

    Nicole - thank you and happy new year to you too. I can highly recommend Fiji - but I think it depends on what kind o person you are. I am 100% a Fiji lover.

    swirlingnotions - still searching ? Well - haven't I given you a great big fat clue as to where to find it? ;) And there are lots of other ideas in the comments - thanks everyone.

    spots - i LOVE Methil - it's a true Indian restaurant, not pakistani - one of the best in town. I love flytrap too. Can't you ghave your birthday party there instead - so i don't have to eat Safeway sour cream?

    eb - warning if you hate me but you want to be me then you are going to be hating yourself so I reckon maybe its not such a good idea. Plus you probably wouldn't want my hips after all those mojitos.

    Jane - happy new year to you too!

    Susie - of course I remember you - thanks for stopping by. We have a canon 20d and quite a collection of lenses. Its a few years old now and probably better options available now. I have been very happy with it though.

  • At 8/1/08 11:23, Blogger A Few Reservations said…

    I'm so glad to see another vote for La Bodequita del Medio in PV. Best of all, they're 2X1 all afternoon. Dangerous.

  • At 8/1/08 14:06, Blogger thepassionatecook said…

    i am a mojito lover through and through - and i've been wanting to go to fiji forever... so this seems like a dream come true to me! i had my best in a similar situation on a secluded beach in huatulco 15 years ago and one that came pretty close in a colonial-style cocktail bar in vienna called livingstone. the surroundings were not as spectacular, or maybe in a different way, but boy, that mojito rocked!!!

  • At 9/1/08 07:06, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Cafe Havana, Philippines
    Mojitos mixed with Mangoes-- Mangojitos!!!

  • At 9/1/08 09:50, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Okay I'm Cuban and make some killer and authentic mojitos, but these here look killer and at least pretty enough to be reckoned with (since I can't taste :( Girl, good for you!
    Question: did you chew on a sugar cane stick?

  • At 14/1/08 21:44, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    We tried making our own, and didn't have mint so used lemon verbena instead and it blew our minds it was so good; which was going to be inevitable anyway, I guess, haha!

  • At 1/4/08 16:55, Anonymous Anonymous said…

    Best mojito I've ever had was in Old San Juan, Puerto Rico at a place called Mojitos. The best Mojitos I've had by far.

  • At 1/7/08 23:01, Blogger BA said…

    I had the best mojito ever at DeSanto Latin Bistro in St. Petersburg, Fl this weekend. It was incredible. I asked them how they made it so good, and they said it was a mix - Doc Heller's All Natural Mojito mix. I couldn't believe it. You have got to try it. I don't know what their secret is, but it's the best!


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