As grown-ups (or should we say "grown-ups"), we've never managed to get over our taste for popsicles, floats, cereal and certain retro sodas. And thanks to the new wave of nostalgia-soaked cocktails, we don't even have to try. Here, six favorite 21-and-over drinks that balance sophistication with a slew of deliciously juvenile-inspired inspirations.
Where: Pazzo, Portland
What: Vodka, lemon juice, blood orange liqueur, orange cordial, egg white, orange-red Italian aperitif.
How: “We made this one on a hot day, blending the sweet-tartness of the orange cordial, solerno and lemon with the creamy texture of egg white. It reminds me of running for the ice cream man,” says bartender Geoffrey Balk. Photo courtesy of Pazzo Ristorante.
Wheatley Convention Center
Where: Sable Kitchen & Bar, Chicago
What: Bourbon, Italian digestif amaro, fresh lemon juice, herbal bitters.
How: “I added housemade vanilla syrup and Coca Cola bitters to this cocktail, a riff on a classic bourbon smash, to give it the essence of an old-school root beer float,” bartender Anton Valkov says of this drink. Photo by Michelle Banovic.
Boys in the Yard
Where: Scala's Bistro, San Francisco
What: Vanilla gelato, rum, bourbon, muddled strawberries, almond milk, simple syrup.
How: Says bartender Debora S. Fernandez, “Strawberries and vanilla gelato make a great combination, but adding the rest plus a little tawny port whipped cream gives us the grown-up strawberry milkshake we all deserve.” Photo courtesy of Scala's Bistro.
Red Sangria Selfie Stick
Where: DNV Rooftop, D.C.
What: Black currant liqueur, red wine, cranberry juice, lemon juice, simple syrup, muddled raspberries.
How: The D.C. spot serves up this homage to summer, inspired by frosty Otter Pops. “While our kitchen team uses the Ultravac for their Izakaya-style comfort food, I get to make fun popsicles with it,” lead bartender Matt Allred tells The Feast. Photo courtesy of DNV Rooftop.
Honey Buzz Milk Punch
Where: Sobou, New Orleans
What: Honey Nut Cheerios-infused rum, honey syrup, pie spice bitters, whole milk.
How: “Cereal is something that everyone connects with immediately, no matter what spirit you use or what cocktail you are creating, says bar chef Laura Bellucci. "It makes people smile—It's a surrender to the silliness of sipping milk from a big bowl." Photo courtesy of Sobou.
Best Cherry Coke in Town
What: Barrel-strength whiskey, cherry brandy, Mexican coca cola.
How: At the book-lined bistro inside the Alexis Hotel, one of our favorite childhood drinks—cherry Coke—gets a boozy twist. “When the Jack Daniels barrel strength was released this year, I thought it would be perfect for this drink,” explains bartender Kevin Langamack. Photo courtesy of Bookstore Bar & Café.
Best Cherry Coke in Town recipe:
1 oz. Jack Daniels barrel strength whiskey
1 oz. cherry brandy
1 Mexican Coca Cola
Combine the whiskey and brandy in a crushed-ice-filled Collins glass. Top off with Coca Cola and garnish with cherries.
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