July 24, 2008 -- As the mercury rises and gas prices spike, beat the heat and treat yourself right at home to one of the hottest cold drinks in the country.
The following recipes from some of America's hippest watering holes are sure to quench your thirst, spice up your "staycation" or simply help set the mood for a perfect summer night.
Little Branch, New York City
A longtime hit with the lock-jawed set from Locust Valley down to Lyfurd Key, Southsides first gained popularity as a more palatal alternative to bitter-tasting bathtub gin. Nowadays they're still a hit with urbanites looking for a lemonadelike way to unwind.
2 oz gin
1 oz fresh lime
Sugar to taste (at least 1 barspoon or ½ ounce simple syrup)
Sprig of fresh mint
¾ oz soda water
Combine juice, sugar and mint in a shaker. Muddle gently to release the mint's oil; add gin and ice, and shake. Strain into a tall glass with ice and top with soda water.
Crown Bar, Los Angeles
Unlike East Coast traditionalists, West Coast toasters are always opting for the new best thing. Right now Veev, a spirit made from the acai berry, is all the rage at L.A. hot spot Crown Bar. Fans say it tastes like vodka, only with less of a hangover feel. Perfect for sunny California mornings!
1½ oz Veev Acai spirit
2 lemon wedges
1 orange wedge
Splash of simple syrup
Muddle fruit together. Combine all ingredients in a mixer with ice. Shake and serve in a chilled rocks glass. Garnish with fruit.
Columns Hotel, New Orleans
Ever since the state of Louisiana voted the sazerac its offical state drink on June 16, the Victorian Lounge at the Columns Hotel hasn't been able to serve up these pre-Civil War cocktails as fast as customers have been drinking them.
Absynthe (to coat glass)
2 oz brandy or cognac
Bitters (red or dark, depending on your preference)
½ oz simple syrup
Lemon twist for garnish
Coat a a rocks glass in absynthe and throw out the remainder. Fill a shaker with ice and add "a quick four or a slow three" seconds pour of brandy or cognac. Add a couple of dashes of dark or red bitters along with a ½ ounce of simple syrup to the mix. Roll the ingredients together in the cup. DO NOT SHAKE or it will become cloudy. Pour clear with no ice into the absynthe-coated glass and garnish with a lemon twist on the edge.
Delano White Sangria
Delano Hotel, Miami Beach
On a steamy summer night, indulge in a fruit-strewn Spanish sangria in an ice-cold glass. The Delano's signature white sangria is the toast of Miami Beach.
2 oz peach puree
2 dashes mango puree
½ oz St Germaine
3 oz sauvignon blanc
1 oz Grey Goose La Poir
2 oz orange juice
½ oz apple cider
Shake, strain over cubed ice and own ice
Garnish: assorted berries and fruit skewer
Shake, strain over cubed ice and own ice. Garnish with assorted berries and fruit skewer.
In the deep heat of Dallas, Texans go wild for icy margaritas. The Trece restaurant offers more than 120 different types of tequila, and one if its most popular concoctions is the red-hued, Red Bull Roz-a-Rita.
1½ oz silver tequila
Fresh mixed berries
1 oz lime juice
¾ oz Agave Nectar
1 oz sugar-free Red Bull
Garnish a rocks glass with margarita salt. Combine all items in a blender with ice. Crush together for 30 seconds and serve.