By Bronze R. Major
Feature Photography: Ryan Archambault / Styling: Lindsey Batz
SPRING HAS SPRUNG, and as it ushers in the much-anticipated summer season, you should welcome the change with a masterfully crafted cocktail in your hands. Ideal cocktails this summer should not only look and taste great, but also provide a palate-pleasing escape that reminds you of all there is to enjoy—family, friends, fun in the sun, the comfort of beach living with sand between your toes, special celebrations and just plain-old good times. The perfect summer cocktail can transform an ordinary happy hour or uneventful outing into the ultimate dining experience. We’ve scouted the local Tampa Bay dining scene and have come up with a few recommendations that won’t disappoint. So drink up, and choose your cocktails wisely. The good news is that we’ve created a stellar list to get you started.
On Swann: IT’S THYME AGAIN HONEY
Nothing is as refreshing as a tall glass of lemonade on a hot summer day. With It’s Thyme Again Honey, the talented mixologists at On Swann have created a cocktail reminiscent of this summer staple, but with unique enhancements guaranteed to delight your taste buds. Bombay gin serves as the alcoholic base for this fragrant gem, elevated by the herbal flavor of the French liqueur Chartreuse Jaune. House-made thyme infused honey and lemon finish off this customer favorite, which makes it a summer must-have.
Stillwaters Tavern: #3
Don’t be deceived by its tropical hue. Sweet in appearance but pleasantly tart in delivery, the #3 at Stillwaters Tavern has three simple and powerful ingredients. Anchoring this drink is St. Pete Distillery’s Old Banyan Reserve Vodka. The use of a local spirit is always a good start to a great cocktail. Then the freshness of raspberries and the warm bite of ginger are layered in to make this drink a nice summer surprise.
The Mill: THE ROYAL RAVIOLI
While the name may remind you of Italy, the Royal Ravioli is actually a spin on the French 75. A standard French 75 is made with gin, champagne, lemon juice and sugar. The Mill’s twist on this classic shatters the norm by incorporating innovative and premium ingredients. Hendricks Gin, blood orange juice, and honey syrup are topped off with Billicart Salmon Champagne to complement any brunch.
The Mill: TAHONA
A luxurious taste of all things summer is the only way to describe the most popular drink at The Mill. Tropical in appearance, unparalleled in taste, and mesmerizing in experience, the Tahona actually transcends seasonal confinement. Corazón Reposado tequila married with the fresh flavors of cactus pear puree and Elderflower Liqueur, immediately transports you on a fantastic summer escapade. The smoked jalapeño agave provides a subtle bite and a nice, sweet heat. A cocktail cornerstone, the Tahona is worth savoring over and over again.
O Cocina: PINEAPPLE CAIPIRINHA
The Caipirinha is the national drink of Brazil. With a tasty update to the classic, O Cocina stays true to the original by using Cachaça, a Brazilian liquor that many liken to white rum. In addition to the required Cachaça, O Cocina adds the acidity of muddled limes, the sweetness of pineapples and the freshness of mint to create a cocktail that culminates in complete taste bud elation.
O Cocina: O PALOMA
When you think of traditional Mexican cocktails, the margarita most likely immediately comes to mind. What if there was a drink that was just as good and offers the same gratifying experience as a margarita? The O Paloma does just that. This often-overlooked Mexican delight is far from your standard Paloma. Staying true to the flavors of the original, your cocktail experience is elevated by the delightful surprise of Prosecco along with Silver Tequila, Campari, lime and house-made salted grapefruit cordial. The addition of the Italian-favorited Prosecco pairs expertly with the traditional Mexican ingredients marking this mix as an international marvel that, lucky for us, can be savored right here in Tampa Bay.
A Tale of Two Frozen Rosés:
Two frozen rosé cocktails: each on either side of Tampa Bay, each amazingly delicious. Rosé is a wine that is synonymous with summer because of its often bright and refreshing finish. Tryst in St. Pete and Franklin Manor in Tampa expertly capitalize on the frozen rosé trend, but transform the popular drink into a craveable, iconic must-have that should be enjoyed all over Tampa Bay.
Franklin Manor: MANOR FROSÉ
This Frosé is so damn good. Vodka, rosé, peach and prickly pear purees are the highlights of this mix. All of the ingredients masterfully work together in harmonious alignment to provide a flavorful cocktail that will undoubtedly exceed expectations. Once you try it, I guarantee you won’t have just one.
Tryst: FROZÉ ALL DAY
The Frozé at Tryst is refreshing, light, and most importantly, prime for summer consumption. Elevated with lemonade and vodka, this delectable concoction transcends alcoholic gender norms and will easily be one of the most popular drinks this summer.
The Hall on Franklin: THE HALL PASS
The Hall on Franklin is one of the most anticipated eateries in Tampa Bay set to open this summer. The Hall features seven individual concepts including The Collection, a unique bar “celebrating the classic Americana spirit paired with bold flavors from around the globe.” We were excited to learn that The Collection joined forces with with Hidden Springs Brewery to develop a beer that pairs well with the many different flavor profiles and food styles offered at the Hall. The “Hall Pass” is the first of their exclusive partnership. A deep coral colored sour ale features the perfect trifecta of Hibiscus, yuzu and locally-sourced cucumbers that are peeled in-house. Light and aromatic, the Hall Pass is the perfect collaboration between two neighboring establishments that have created the ultimate summer beer to combat the Tampa heat.