For the longest time I was on the mission to find the best mojitos in Seoul. All I wanted was a perfectly prepared glass of mojito with fresh mint leaves and lime. I’ve ordered mojitos in a dozen or so bars that are supposedly famous – some rather disappointing and some very pleasantly suprising.
Here are some bars and lounges I checked out that were rather decent (I won’t even mention all the crappy ones I’ve tasted in clubs and cheap bars).
M Lounge (Villa Sortino), Itaewon
Serein (Garosu-gil), Shinsa-dong
Woobar (W-Hotel), Gwangjang-dong
Club Function (Macaroni Market), Itaewon
So where is the master mixologist of mojito?
Reviews after the jump.
#6. Serein (Garosu-gil), Shinsa-dong
This is apparently the hangout place for the hip trendsetters in Seoul. First of all the place is a little bit tricky to find, and I wasn’t particularly impressed with their food (Coming in another review!). But supposedly they had an extensive list of mojito menus so I had to give it a go.
They indeed to have a wide variety of mojitos. I tried three of their mojitos and let me say this: SYRUPY! I felt their mojitos were way too sugary and syrupy. I do not remember the name of the particular mojito I had the third time and basically it was something along the lines of “super duper minty mojito”. I love chewing on mint leaves, scent of which is vaguely reminiscent of ggaenip (깻잎) leaves (sesame seed leaves we eat here in Korea). Seeing they had a super minty flavor, I had to try.
To my consternation I realized the super duper mint flavor I expected… wasn’t from particularly dense/strong/fresh mint leaves. It came from a syrup! The mint flavor was way too artificial, close to what you taste in chewing gums! I actually disliked my drink substantially. I am really baffled as to why their mojito bar is so famous. Why is Serein on the list then? Just to let you know that it doesn’t matter what people say, sometimes… you just don’t dig it. Tasting food is extremely subjective, and I particularly did not like minty mojito they had. Their other mojitos were rather mediocre, not superb.
#5. Woobar (W-Hotel), Gwangjang-dong
Woobar has a reasonable selection of cocktails. In fact I am a big fan of their martinis. Their olives are one of the freshest you can get in Seoul! Being a huge olive fan, I cannot complain that they serve rather a generous portion of huge cooled olives on ice. Also their prices aren’t as hurtful to your wallet than other comparable hotel bars. It’s just that… Woobar is such a hassle to get to. A cab ride from Rodeo Street, Apgujeong to W-Hotel will cost you around 12,000 Won.
Their mojito I remember was rather decent as well. Except that it was a little too diluted for my taste. I just thought more mint and rum could have been used. Maybe it took them a while to serve the drink and the ice melted? I don’t know what it is, but I think the drink could have used more mint leaves, lime and of course… rum. Not bad, but not particularly refreshing enough so after a sip I don’t get visuals of me laying on a beach enjoying the sunset in a tropical island (that’s sort of my mojito-moment right there).
#4. Club Function (Macaroni Market), Itaewon
Bartender Vito makes great drinks. I will write another review about some of the cocktails he concocted that you must try. Mojito at Macaroni is also very reasonable. A good balance of sugar, lime, mint leaves and rum. Just one little complaint: not enough mint leaves! I do have a bias for strong and large(?) flavors that can fill up the mouth. Of course some foods and drinks are better slightly bland or simple-flavored, but I just love getting my tongue and sensation on bigger flavors.
Very reasonable mojitos you can get in Seoul, but not the best you can get for your money.
#3. M Lounge (Villa Sortino), Itaewon
I am a big fan of Villa Sortino’s food. So does their lounge bar measure up to the restaurant’s reputation? Apparently it does! Their mojitos are pretty darn good, I have to admit. They got the balance right! It’s one of those drinks that you want to finish as soon as possible but also you have to restrain yourself from gulping it down in one go to savor it!
Last time I had it though, they lacked carbonation in the drink. Maybe I am just getting too picky, but oh well, that’s the whole point of going on a mission to find the best mojito in Seoul right? Otherwise I’d be satisfied with every mojito they serve in Seoul! So is it possible to find better mojitos in Seoul?
#2. Lound, Cheongdam-dong
If you haven’t been to this place, and you feel like your wallet needs to go on a diet, this is the place to go. It is located right next to S-Bar of Cheongdam-dong (ok, if you don’t know where S-Bar is, I strongly recommend you naver/google it) and if you say S-Bar went all out in having their interior decor in black, Lound, name derived from combining the words Lounge and Round, went all out in having their inside all white. Elegantly white and minimalistic, but not even close to being visually boring, Lound is probably my new favorite bar if I have cash to burn. If I need to burn cash fast that is.
Priced at 20,000 Won, cocktails can really break your wallet before you know it. It’s one of those places you would take your date out just to impress, but not really a place if you are looking for a fun night of debauchery with your friends. Most cocktails are made with great precision and expertise. They also had a few selection of mojitos, and after having tried two of them, I would recommend Lound to anyone who is looking for a great mojito. Great presentation, the drink looks and feels expensive (probably because you’re paying 22,000 Won after VAT), and of course, all of these factors compound to the final flavor of the drink (although I hate to admit it).
So the big question is… Which bar serves the best mojito in Seoul (out of all the bars I tried at least)???
#1. 74, Cheongdam-dong
74! Another expensive lounge bar in the area of Cheongdam-dong! Little did I know, Lound and 74 are sister bars with the same management. At first I noticed striking similarities in how cocktails were presented in Lound’s menu and that of 74′s, but now everything makes sense.
Undoubtedly, 74 has the best mojitos served in Seoul. And I say this with great certainty. Never mind the steep costs of one cocktail, if you judge purely on the quality of mojito based on ingredients that comprise it; freshness of mint leaves; presentation of the drink and a wide styles of mojitos they have to offer, 74 hands down makes by far the best mojitos.
Stacks of fresh mint leaves are used and the drink boasts the perfect balance that other places seem to have problems equilibrating. If the background music wasn’t so lound, I could also sit back, close my eyes and visualize the beach sunset I was yearning for so long. Only if I can have this drink delivered to a beach nearby (still hours away)…
If you are a mojito fan, I strongly urge you to check this place out. I recommend the cinnamon mojito they have, it’s pleasantly surprising, if you are a cinnamon fan.
My next mission is not finished here. I am still on the lookout for mojitos I haven’t tried that may rival the perfectness of 74 mojitos. I will be roaming around every corner of Seoul then, and if I do find a glass that is better, you will definitely hear from me soon.