Mojitos are my favorite cocktail, but after trying some 15 different varieties at Tuesday night’s Bacardi Mojito Challenge at the S.C. Aquarium, my sugar-shot stomach was ready to cry uncle. Various flavors of the rum were used — particularly popular was their latest release, Dragonberry, a mix of strawberry and the mysterious dragonfruit. The Bacardi was mixed with a seemingly endless selection of innovative ingredients: elderflower (Social), yuzu vanilla (Charleston Grill), and even Pop Rocks (Coast). Not to mention the requisite mint and lime which garnished most glasses.

Though the “challenge” in the event’s name no doubt refers to the fast-paced mixology going on, I gotta say, it wasn’t so easy for us on the other side either. Strolling through the fish tanks, trying to taste every offering, then trying to keep them all straight — all while balancing a slightly precarious glass — was no easy task. But it was worth it. Everyone put up a good fight, and I didn’t even have to pour out one drink.

Props to Wild Wing for their Skinny Mo, a reduced calorie option, and Coast, who won for the third year in a row. A few folks argued that the Pop Rocks were a cheap move to help Coast stay in everyone’s tipsy minds, and if that’s so, I applaud their brilliant strategy. With or without the explosive candy, it was a drink that brought me back for seconds (and possibly thirds) and earned my vote. Until next year, mojito mixers. Keep muddling.

P.S. We’ve got more photos on our Flickr page.