In the very near future, it will be 120 degrees outside. Or at least it will feel like it. You'll sweat through your clothes walking from your car to work. The bushes in your front yard will burst into flames. Air-conditioning will barely be a refuge. Even in a cool room your skin will burn, the memory of the outside hell imprinted on it like a new tattoo. The only way to fight against it? From the inside, with a cool drink. Better yet, a spiked cool drink to help you forget that it's melting outside. Below, five carefully selected suggestions.
After only a little more than a month serving margaritas, ZaZa's sign already brags "Best Margaritas in Town." And why not? The Heights pizza and salad standby makes a strong case with a concoction that strikes an almost perfect balance between the sweet and the tart. The key ingredients? A lot of fresh lime juice and a simple syrup mixture that doesn't leave you sugar-sick like so many margaritas do. Served on the rocks with a lime wedge in a frosted mug, rimmed with a thick layer of rock salt, it's a summer classic done right.
Basil Lemon Drop Martini
Has there been a classic drink more abused than the martini? I'm talking Appletinis, Saketinis, Chocolate martinis. Hell, I've even seen a Balsamic Vinegar Martini. Nothing beyond gin, vermouth and an olive should go in a drink that calls itself a martini. Except for Ferneau's Basil Lemon Drop Martini. It can take whatever name it wants. Built, I suspect, on honey, lemon, mint, vodka and muddled basil, it's the rare cocktail that's truly refreshing — it tastes like a better version of lemonade.
Alcohol-infused Snow Cones
The Peabody Hotel's RiverTop Parties
To kick off its weekly RiverTop Parties last week, the Peabody served up that quintessential summer treat of childhood, but with a kick — spiked snow cones. Just like you'd find after a Little League baseball game in a paper cone, drenched in sweetness. So far, the flavors speak to our desire for a nostalgia buzz. There's blue and red. Blue is called Royal Blue and it's punched up by Blue Island Pucker DeKuyper liqueur and Shaker Vodka. Red is Tigers Blood, a blend of strawberry and watermelon flavors augmented by Watermelon DeKuyper liqueur and coconut rum. You won't taste it, but after just one little cone, watch out: Everything will get a little wobbly.
Capital Hotel Bar
Why drink at the Capital Hotel? Because the bar has all the ingredients (and knowledge) to mix cocktails you could never pull off at home. Like a Mint Julep packed tight with perfectly crushed ice in a pewter glass. Or an Old Fashioned worth ordering just for the brandy-soaked cherries speared on a cocktail knife. Or, even more so, the Seersucker, a twist on the Sazerac, made with bourbon and ingredients no one keeps in his liquor cabinet — Aperol (an Italian apertif), Rothman and Winter Orchard Apricot (an Austrian liqueur) and Lillet (a French apertif). Served cold, neat and with an orange peel, it's a drink you'll return to whenever you're determined to leave summer behind.The Adult Milkshake
Kids love hamburgers. Kids love milkshakes. Kids love drawing on menus. Ergo, kids love the Purple Cow. Parents like all those things, too, but preferably with a tranquilizer on the side. Which is why the Purple Cow's Adult Shake is such an inspired innovation in family dining. All of the mini-chain's nearly two-dozen shakes are available in a 21-plus version, with an ounce of your choice of Amaretto, Irish Cream, "Creme de Mint," Triple Sec, Kahlua, bourbon, vodka or rum. Retch, you might say, thinking of your favorite PB & Jelly shake. But Kahlua in a vanilla milkshake? That's like a better White Russian. And that's just hitting on the obvious. Who knows? A bourbon double-chocolate shake might be divine.