For many in the restaurant biz, summertime means open patios, extended hours, out-of-town visitors, lighter menu items, and extra cool libations. Menu innovators seem especially smitten by that last one. A year ago, frosé (frozen rosé) was making the rounds at trendy restaurants in major cities while DIY versions invaded many a cookout.
Memorial Day weekend—the unofficial start of summer—is still a solid month away, but a number of brands are already mixing up the most colorful, clever, and in some cases, just crazy, concoctions.
Will any of these unseat frozen daiquiris or brewed-in-house iced tea? Probably not. Will frosé return with a vengeance? Possibly. Are mixologists going to make like booze cruises and go overboard? You betcha.
The drink was so fleeting that you might think it just a social media myth, not unlike its namesake. The color– and flavor-changing frap started purple and fruity before morphing to a tangy-tasting tart.
Chicago-Style Hot Dog Whiskey Sour
Blending meat into liquid form has somehow graduated from SNL’s Bassomatic skit to the realm of reality. Adam Seger, the mad scientist/executive bartender at NYC’s The Tuck Room, infuses the flavors of Vienna Beef hot dogs, relish, pickles, mustard, and other condiments into whiskey before adding house-made sour mix. The unnamed cocktail is essentially a Chicago-style hot dog whiskey sour.
Our neighbors to the north know what’s up with weird libations. Vancouver’s newest restaurant, Botanist, boasts a cocktail menu that would please the Hemingway of woodland gnomes. Divided into categories like “Flowers + Trees,” “Fruits + Vegetables,” and “Berries + Vines,” the most noteworthy must be the Treebeard—Douglas Fir gin, oaked rye, cedar, birch sap, and Alderwood-smoked tea.
Hot Chocolate, Now Frozen
For decades, Serendipity 3 was famous for its Frrrozen Hot Chocolate (and for a terrible John Cusack movie). The counterintuitive combo could get a second wind now that the No. 2 coffee concept, Dunkin’ Donuts, has added its own “Hot Chocolate, Now Frozen.”
The balance of light and dark could bode well for under-the-radar charcoal cocktails. A macabre—yet refreshing—beverage like Slowly Shirley’s Perla Negra stands out amid sunny days and beyond-bright drinks. Served in a skull-shaped glass, the opaque-black cocktail includes activated charcoal (purported to have detoxifying properties) with aged rum, orange juice, citrus, and honey.