Evoking visions of hot summer nights in pre-revolution Havana, the mango mojito -- sipped regularly by Ernest Hemingway, or so legend has it -- is the perfect cool-down as Denver heats up. And the rum-soaked concoction is already a hot commodity at the eight-week-old Samba Room, which also features a Latin-Copacabana-esque curved bar, a Latin-fusion menu lineup, gauzy floor-to-ceiling drapes, hand-painted murals and lots of beautiful customers.
But nothing is as lovely as this apricot-colored drink. Made with white rum, mango purée, freshly squeezed lime juice, a sprig of soda water and fresh mint, just one mojito can seriously kick your ass, and two could knock you off your bar stool. Despite the loud, exuberant Cuban music that fills the Samba Room, dancing isn't allowed in the bar -- but after a few mojitos, you sure wish it were.
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And yes, you're supposed to gnaw on the large rod of sugar cane that sticks out of the top of the glass: It takes away the sour flavor and actually increases the strength of the drink by absorbing some of the sugar content. Which is probably exactly what you don't need.