Summertime is the season for sipping cool cocktails. Here’s how mixologists around the country customize the experience for their guests, drawing on seasonality, regional flavors and their own creativity.
At the Roger Room in Los Angeles, five new seasonal drinks incorporate produce and herbs from local farms. Even the drink names have a style all their own: She Calls Everyone Baby ($13), The Two Timer ($13), Tough Love ($13), The Culprit ($14) and Everything on Red ($14).
Mimosas, typically made with champagne and orange juice, get an update for brunch at Theory Chicago. Owner Joel Sorinsky’s version starts with champagne, then takes a turn into a float-like drink when he adds a scoop of sorbet in flavors such as raspberry, strawberry and guava.
Customers get into the act at brunch at Tortilla Republic in West Hollywood, CA, with a Bloody Mary Bar where they mix their own drinks. Signature additions include house-made carrot habanero hot sauce, pickled carrots, jalapenos and green beans.
Barbecue-friendly summer cocktails at the Chicago barbecue restaurant, Chicago q, include Limeade ($14) with Absolut Citron and homemade lime juice; the Mint Julep ($11) with Buffalo Trace Bourbon, mint and sugar, served with an ice cone on top; the American Mule ($11) featuring Tito’s Vodka, fresh lime juice and ginger beer; and the Saint MC ($11) champagne cocktail with blood orange juice and fresh pomegranate seeds.
Executive chef Stephen Coe has created splashy summer cocktails at Bokx Pool on the grounds of Hotel Indigo in Newton, MA. Approximately 20 cocktails incorporate sweet infused spirits, fresh fruit juices and herbal add-ins. Additional choices include frozen drinks and pitchers. For example, the Sunday Morning pitcher features Crown Royal Maple and Cajun powder lemonade. Cocktails range from Bokx Punch (Bacardi, orange, pineapple and cherry juice) to the Blue Violet made with Smirnoff Blueberry, Blue Curacao, Chambord, sour mix and cranberry juice.
In Washington, DC, six handcrafted summer cocktails help patrons celebrate the season at Blue Duck Tavern and Blue Duck Tavern Lounge at the Park Hyatt Washington. Made with fresh fruit juice and seasonal ingredients, cocktails include Watermelon Gimlets, Blackberry Hibiscus Margaritas, Summer Sangria, BDT Smashes, Sparkling Melons and Garden Mojitos featuring rum, Green Chartreuse, St. Germain, fresh squeezed lime, club soda and an orange wheel. Garden Mojitos are garnished with rosemary and thyme from the herb garden at Herb Duck Tavern. Blackberry Hibiscus Margaritas are made with tequila, blackberries, agave nectar, creme de cassis and hibiscus syrup, garnished with a lime wedge. The signature Summer Sangria is bursting with the fresh flavors of house-infused orange vodka, watermelon juice, fresh-squeezed lime juice, basil simple syrup, cucumber rounds and a basil leaf garnish.
Guests at District American Kitchen and Wine Bar at Sheraton Phoenix Downtown Hotel are sipping stylish drinks this summer. Cocktails here have a fresh focus that mirrors the restaurant’s menu. Contemporary American comfort foods showcase herbs from the restaurant’s garden, micro greens grown in a new indoor cultivator for herbs and greens, and artisan products that all add local flavor. That aesthetic is carried over to the cocktail menu with drinks such as The 602 Mule ($10). This Arizona take on the classic Moscow Mule starts with a locally produced vodka, and adds a note of pressed fresh prickly pear from the restaurant’s rooftop garden. The Dirty Local ($14) is made with all local ingredients, including vodka, olive brine and the garnish of olives stuffed with goat cheese. Other summer specials include the Transfusion Martini ($10), the Phoenix “Play on a Manhattan” featuring agave nectar syrup in place of sweet vermouth ($12) and the Red Beer breakfast cocktail ($8).
Among the summer cocktails at Davio’s Northern Italian Steakhouse in Philadelphia is bar manager Mark Aquillino’s lemony concoction, the Davio’s Sgroppino.
HMF at The Breakers in Palm Beach, FL, offers a signature cocktail inspired by Fresca, the classic citrus soda. Cocktails at HMF are infused with local fruits and herbs. The Frescavescent features fresh, simple ingredients such as lemon, lime and grapefruit juice and is garnished with a grapefruit wedge.