Whether you’re searching for a classic margarita or a curious concoction, the Bay Area has plenty to offer. We share some of our favorites here.
Rowe Bar: THE LAST TYPHOON
Loews Don CeSar
3400 Gulf Boulevard, St. Pete Beach
Stroll into Rowe Bar at the historic Loews Don CeSar Hotel and you’ll notice something missing. The caustic whir of beach bar blenders is absent, and for good reason: the Don stays true to its 1920’s vibe. Here, bartenders mix drinks the same way their predecessors did when Thomas Rowe opened the hotel in 1928. That means ice crushed the old-fashioned way, without metallic blender buzz as background noise. Today, that ice is a standard ingredient in such retro concoctions as Rowe Bar’s Angel’s Kiss, Anytime Rickey and Ades for Any Age, which add homemade syrups like spicy ginger and salted watermelon to classic lemon, lime and orange flavors.
Then there’s The Last Typhoon. At first glance, it’s the quintessential summer drink. A requisite perky pineapple slice balances on a base of freshly squeezed passion fruit, pineapple and grapefruit juices. With its hand-crushed ice and floater of Appleton VX rum, it could easily be the highlight of a day you spend poolside on one of the Don CeSar’s coveted lounge chairs. However, like most of the signature cocktails that grace Rowe Bar’s drink menu, there’s more than meets the eye. That almost spicy nudge that cuts the sweetness is Caribbean bitters. And with that splash of magic comes the inevitable question: How did they think of that? Never cloying, ultimately refreshing, The Last Typhoon takes a classic beach cocktail to a new level.
Roux: PINK FAIRY
4205 South MacDill Avenue, Tampa
A light libation that incorporates Tito’s Vodka, Corsair red absinthe rinse, elderflower, lemon, coconut water and blueberries, each sip evokes comparisons to a liquid tropical paradise. The spring and early summer picked elderflower, which supposedly traces lineage back to Roman Times, is used as a flavoring component to make this tropical cocktail unique. The delicate and beautiful blend is part of the Roux experience you shouldn’t miss.
Birch & Vine: CUCUMBER COOLER
340 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg
A personal favorite of LocalsDish publisher Dawna Stone, Birch & Vine’s Cucumber Cooler is the perfect way to beat the summer heat while taking in gorgeous bay views. This warm-weather cocktail is made with Crop Organic Cucumber Vodka®, freshly squeezed lemon juice, uniquely crafted cucumber and basil simple sugar syrup. Shaken with ice, served in a highball glass and topped with club soda and a freshly shaved cucumber garnish, it’s simply delicious!
The Avenue Eat/Drink: TRI-FRESHNESS
330 1st Avenue S, St. Petersburg
Cucumber is clearly the taste of summer and The Avenue Eat/Drink uses it flawlessly to achieve what they call the Tri-Freshness. The Crop Organic Cucumber Vodka®, strawberries, cucumbers, triple sec, lime, and Sprite® concoction served in a mason jar will definitely quench your thirst and cool you down.
Bella Brava: THE SWEET PEA
204 Beach Drive NE, St. Petersburg
Summer seasonal menus are in full swing and the cocktail menu at BellaBrava is no exception. Developed in-house by Angela Galecki, the staff inspired Sweet Pea cocktail includes flavor profiles from its special summer menu. Miller’s gin is combined with muddled fresh spring peas and arugula and shaken with house-made jasmine tea syrup. The end result is an incredibly fresh, beautiful, and bright green taste of summer.