Many restaurants and bars are helping thirsty customers beat the heat with inventive drinks this summer. There’s a cool way to cool off no matter what's your beverage of choice—beer, wine, cocktails or house-made lemonade.
Birreria, the new rooftop beer garden on top of EATALY, New York City’s vast Italian marketplace, is brewing three cask-conditioned ales about 30 feet from customers’ tables. Sam Calagione, founder of Dogfish Head out of Rehoboth Beach, Delaware is one of the brewmasters who is contributing his expertise to the summer selection. It includes Dogfish’s Belgian Style Brown Ale and their Stout fermented with Chicory and Coffee, both served through traditional hand pumps. Also on tap is a Chestnut Mild Ale and a refreshing Seasonal Ale brewed with eucalyptus honey, orange blossom honey, ginger and Ugli fruit. All pair well with specialties like fried shiitake mushrooms with sage, salumi platters and Birreria’s cheese selection.
When he introduced his beers, Calagione talked a bit about what his customers are asking for these days. “The regulars are overwhelmingly requesting tasty, gluten-free beers,” he says. At Dogfish, they’re experimenting with buckwheat honey (which delivers the maltiness of barley without the gluten) and berries to craft some signature gluten-free brews.
Wine was the attraction at Capital Grille’s The Generous Pour promotion. During the month-long event, Master Sommelier George Miliotes hand-selects a summertime collection of nine highly-rated wines from France, Spain, California, Italy and Australia. For $25 per person, guests could enjoy as many of the wines as they wanted, paired with dinner selections from Capital Grille’s steak and seafood-centric menu. Servers started diners off with a bubbly Loire Brut, then proceeded to set two glasses out for each course, including dessert. The pours looked to be 3 to 4 ounces each—generous indeed.
Summer cocktails should be all about fun and go down easy. The trendiest take advantage of fresh, seasonal fruits, herbs and other produce. At the 25 RA Sushi locations, the mixologist created three drinks that evoke memories of childhood treats and tropical beach vacations. The Orange Dreamsicle combines vodka, orange juice, lemon-lime soda and cream of coconut, all shaken with ice and garnished with an orange slice and whipped cream. Slurp it through a straw and it cools the mouth just like a frosty creamsicle pop. The Coconut Mojito blends lime, mint, pineapple juice and coconut rum, while the spirits in the Key Lime Martini are coconut and whipped vodka, enhanced with pineapple juice and lime. The martini glass is rimmed with graham cracker crumbs for the full effect.
The outdoor Rink Bar in New York City’s Rockefeller Center offers plenty of summery cocktails that appeal to tourists and natives alike. But during the stretch of 90- and 100-degree days this summer, the thermometer-priced summer lemonades were a major hit. For each degree above 90 the thermostat read at 12 noon daily, the price of all the lemonades dropped by a dollar. And if the temp reaches 100 degrees or more, the crowds could cool off for just $1 per 12-ounce glass until closing.
The Rink Bar’s classic lemonade, which normally costs $12, is a refreshing mix of fresh-squeezed lemon juice, sugar and ice water. Also on the lemonade menu were several versions spiked with spirits and priced accordingly, including Jack Daniels, Cachaca, wild tea vodka and elderflower liquor. The temperature lemonade offer runs through Labor Day.