Bartenders around the South are quenching thirsts with a new twist on cola.

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Recipe:Pause that RefreshesThis sparkly cocktail is balanced with sorghum and delivers on its name.
Jennifer Davick

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.