Such is the case with the mojito, the tropical concoction made by muddling mint leaves and sugar syrup in the bottom of a glass, adding a squeeze of lime juice, light rum and soda water, then garnishing with more mint leaves and a lime wedge. For a drink that was first declared to be hip a few summers ago, many unhip entities (e.g., InStyle magazine, Martha Stewart) glommed onto it and drove it into the ground, thus guaranteeing, in our minds, that it would soon filter its way inland. Sadly, we were wrong; there are few places in Kansas City where one can order a mojito, let alone a good one.
To our surprise, one of the better places to find a mojito is the Cheesecake Factory -- which we often dismissed as either a Factory of Blandness or a House of Large Sizes (an apt description of its portions as well as its patrons), based on its resemblance to a big-box store and its eighty-page glossy, laminated menu with jewelry ads. However, the Cheesecake Factory's drinks kick. Ass. These froufrou potions are one step away from being garnished with paper umbrellas and served on the lido deck. Which makes us reconsider our fierce stand against the massive menu; there are just too many tasty drinks to choose from. The mojito makes our top-ten list, though. Cheesecake Factory bartenders actually muddle the mint and sugar syrup with a pestle, and when you raise the glass to your lips, the carbonation bubbles hit your nose at the same time as the smell of mint leaves and faint, slightly bitter lime -- all of which results in a jolt of pleasure. Unfortunately and much to our chagrin, because of the Cheesecake Factory's we-appeal-to-suburbanites mojito prices ($6.50) and its decidedly nonbar atmosphere and nonfun hours (closing time is 12:30 a.m. on Friday and Saturday -- sacrilege!), we have had to limit our intake.
That's OK, though. We can easily see ourselves becoming girl-drink drunks on these mojitos, and the embarrassment of having to admit that the Cheesecake Factory is our new bar is too great. So perhaps it's just as well that this trend isn't prevalent in KC. Our livers will thank us later.