Gin and Tonic Basil Smash – El Baron – Cartagena, Colombia

April 7, 2017

This article is written by El Baron, the international man of mystery, and has been shared with the author’s permission..

As the Bibulous’ South American friend, it is my distinct honor to share my favorite local cocktail from my favorite local city, Cartagena, Colombia. The old city of Cartagena is a walled-in tropical paradise, with the ocean and pastel colored houses lining the city’s streets. For the best cocktail around, there is only one place to go: my namesake, El Baron.

El Baron is in the southwestern part of the old city, or as we locals say, a ten minute walk from everything. The indoor bar is furnished in old world décor, with stools and tables for small plates. The real locals however, sit outside in the city square and order their cocktails while watching everything from a Colombian Civics rally to local merchants ply their craft.

El Baron

The real experience however is decidedly what’s on the table, in the form of the menu and soon to be your beverage. The menu harkens imbibers to engage themselves professionally and water is not an option; there is even an etiquette section on how to behave at the restaurant.


The cocktail menu is broken down into different sections: your standard drinks, special Colombian cocktails, and the El Baron house specials. Each El Baron house special is named after a woman the maestro encountered on his global adventures; the drinks themselves embody the culture and the inevitable sensual interactions that were had. I sat down with El Baroness and we each ordered a drink we thought we would like; mine a bourbon drink from the American west, and hers from the Orient.

IMG_6549 El Baron’s choice

IMG_2156 And for his lady…

We finished these quickly and perused the menu for another. Instead of choosing, El Baroness ordered all of the drinks on the menu. This gave us an ample sampling to test El Baron’s quality and diversity. Our personal favorite was the Gin and Tonic Basil Smash, seen below.


This drink was not your typical gin and tonic, as it featured basil as a tonic, giving the drink a strong green look. It was very refreshing and the gin was just slightly discernible, enough to make you realize you were having a drink, but not enough to give you that kick often required. Overall, El Baron has a fascinating menu and the drinks are a microcosm of global travel in this little Colombian hamlet. Highly recommend.

El Baron
Cra. 4 #31-7
Cartagena, Colombia