Yes, it’s acceptable to plan a trip around a refreshing seasonal cocktail.
Well, it’s finally July in the South. We all knew this would happen, but boom: the humidity hits you with the tenderness of a soaking wet beach towel flung in your face; the sunlight beats down on your extremities like so many chicken tenders sitting under the heat lamp at Publix.
Fortunately, we have developed many an antidote to the heat from the early days of sleeping porches to the development of the above ground pool in Arkansas. But, perhaps our most inventive ways to cool down can be found behind the bar.
From the wine slushy craze known as Frosé to new school takes on Tiki drinks, these are our 10 favorite cocktails to counteract the summer sun.
Frosé at Hotel San José in Austin, Texas
If you haven’t jumped on the frozen rosé train yet, depart the station in the Hotel San José’s hidden oasis of a courtyard in the middle of the bustling SoCo neighborhood. Chase it with another chilled offering, The Michelada, a Modelo poured over an iced mix of lime juice, Worcestershire sauce, soy sauce, and Tabasco.
Mai Tai at The Collins Bar in Birmingham, Alabama
A favorite bar of Southern Living staffers here in Birmingham, The Collins hosts a weekly Tiki Night with retro-styled, tropical drinks in drink ware with faces. Order up their version of the classic Mai Tai and ask bartender Mike Tobey about his recent trip to Huki Lao to bartend with some of the best in the Tiki biz.
Gin and Tonic Daiquiri at Bourrée in New Orleans, Louisiana
An offshoot of Garden District favorite Boucherie, Bourrée serves a fresher take on the magical New Orleans-style combination of chicken wings and daiquiris. While most of their flavors rotate depending on seasonality, their gin and tonic version made with ultra-refreshing Louisiana-grown cucumbers is available year round.
The Matilda at Matilda Midnight in Chattanooga, Tennessee
Inside the new Dwell Hotel in Chattanooga, which looks like it may have been built just for Instagram (Check out their Beverly Hills Hotel-like wallpaper in their lobby.), the mid-century-inspired cocktail bar Matilda makes their namesake cocktail with Aquavit, coconut foam, green tea, almond, cream, and spiked pearls.
Whale of a Tale at Saltine in Jackson, Mississippi
Fans of Jackson distillers Cathead Vodka will love this Mississippi-style Paloma made with their Bristow Gin, lime juice, and salt. Its brininess pairs perfectly with oysters from Saltine’s raw bar.
Jack and Coke Slushy at Victory Sandwich Bar in Atlanta, Georgia
Not feeling any herb springs floating in your drink tonight? Don’t want to spend more than a Hamilton? Atlanta’s Victory Sandwich Bar has you covered with a classic in frozen form at a price point made for second rounds.
Scorpion Tea at El Rocko Lounge in Savannah, Georgia
When Wes Daniel’s locally loved dive bar Hangfire closed last year, Savannahians wondered if they would ever have a jar of Scorpion Tea, his whiskey and ginger beer punch, again. Luckily, Daniel’s new ’70s, glam rock-styled bar El Rocko Lounge (located just down the street from his former location) serves it alongside a lineup of draft and bottled cocktails.
Port Light at El Camino in Louisville, Kentucky
Hurry! There’s still time to sip on a Port Light, a Tiki-style concoction of Kentucky-made Buffalo Trace bourbon, passion fruit, grenadine, and lemon, before the surfer-themed cantina El Camino closes in August in preparation for a move to a new location.
The Pony Show at Old Glory in Nashville, Tennessee
One of Nashville’s newest cocktail bars, Old Glory is a vertically oriented architectural wonder inside the boiler room of the old White Way Laundry building in Edgehill Village. Owners (and sisters) Alexis and Britt Soler keep their cocktail menu constantly changing, but the Pony Show sips like summer in a glass with tequila, gin, and honeydew garnished with a slice of green bell pepper and mint.
Frozen Guava Margarita at The Continental in Miami, Florida
You can thank Miami maven Stephanie Granada (@sgranada) for pointing this south-Florida hotspot out to us. Pair their poolside paradise with a happy hour guava margarita to unlock all the summer achievements.