The American classic cola is embraced throughout the nation as the unofficial summer thirst quencher. But in Atlanta, bartender Greg Best of Holeman & Finch Public House (holeman-finch.com) is leading the charge to give the mixer an upgrade. These new cocktails creatively use cola as the star ingredient. Greg cooks the soda down into a gastrique (a syrupy reduction) for his Pause that Refreshes, a sparkly summer beverage that’s balanced with sorghum—and delivers on its name (see below). At Hector Santiago’s tapas bar Pura Vida (puravidatapas.com), bar chef Paul Calvert showcases cola with Fernet-Branca and house lime shrub (a sweet, tart syrup) in his Cordoba Heights cocktail. And hot spot Victory Sandwich Bar (vicsandwich.com) serves up icy rum-and cola slushies in Mason jars.
Make it Yourself!
Add 1 Tbsp. Cola Gastrique* and 2 dashes of orange bitters to a Champagne flute or coupe glass. Top with 5 to 6 oz. sparkling wine. Garnish with a lemon rind curl.
*Cola Gastrique - Combine 3 cups cola soft drink, 3 cups apple cider vinegar, and 1 cup sorghum in a 4-qt. saucepan, and bring to a light boil over medium heat. Cook, stirring occasionally, 1 hour to 1 hour and 10 minutes or until mixture coats a metal spoon and runs off in a fluid stream. (Mixture should be reduced by two-thirds.) Remove from heat, and cool completely (about 1 hour). Store in an airtight container in refrigerator up to 2 weeks.