7.25.2010

Drink This: Brain Freeze With A Buzz

When the thermostat climbs to 100 degrees, it would only make sense that the craft cocktail movement would spawn some very grown-up versions of frozen treats.

That means it's easy to acquire some cooling brain freeze with your buzz. From "poptails" to "slushitos" and speakeasy ice cream floats — all made with attention to quality ingredients — this seems to be the summer the frozen cocktail grew up.

Let's start with dessert, shall we? On the patio cocktail list at neo-speakeasy The Gibson, a line-up of boozy floats ($13-$17) are made with custom Dolcezza gelato flavors. In the Soyer au Champagne No. 2, Angostura bitters gelato gets paired with Louis Roederer Champagne, cognac and pineapple gomme. The Slightly Odd Duck is made with beetroot-green peppercorn gelato, Old Tom gin, mango syrup, balsam fir tincture and lemon soda. Slightly odd indeed.

At a recent media tasting, I got to try Cafe Saint-Ex's new poptails ($6). Like those plastic ice pop sticks from childhood, a refreshing blend of lemon elderflower syrup, sparkling wine and St. Germain liqueur is served in a narrow plastic bag.

Banishing memories of frozen margaritas made with sticky sweet, neon yellow mix are Estadio's slushitos (pictured above, $8), which bar manager Adam Bernbach makes with fresh fruit, herbs, spices and alcohol. I've been on a steady diet this past week of the quince flavor with lemon, paprika, Scotch and sherry, and the fresh strawberry with basil, lime, Campari and gin.

Meanwhile, downtown's Italian-accented Potenza just unveiled three frozen cocktails on a stick ($5), available at the bar and on the patio. The Bina Bellini blends white peaches with Italian vodka and Prosecco, the Orvieto combines fresh strawberries and balsamic syrup with Italian vodka, lime and basil, and the eponymous Potenza freezes housemade limoncello with grappa and lemon bitters.

(For more chilling choices, check out their previously discussed crushed ice cousins.)

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