The farmers markets are back, trees are flowering and school is almost out for the summer. Spring is in full effect around the ATL which means restaurant patios are packed with people enjoying the sunshine...with cocktails, of course. From tropical riffs to simple classics, these seven cocktails are snapshots of springtime around Atlanta.
Blame It on Rio
Porchlight in Smyrna gives Brazil’s national drink the caipirinha (kai-pee-reen-ya) a pineapple twist. This daiquiri-like cocktail consists of cachaca (ka-shah-suh--clear, Agricole rhum-like spirit distilled in Brazil from fermented sugarcane juice,) sugar and fresh lime juice and is served over ice. Porchlight replaces the sugar component with pineapple to enhance the fruitier notes naturally found in cachaca.
Porchlight Latin Kitchen, 300 Village Green Circle SE, Smyrna. 678-309-9858,
Featured under the stirred drinks category on Bocado’s current menu, the Iced Out is a clever play on a white negroni. The subtle floral notes of Colorado’s Golden Moon gin mixed with orange blossom liqueur and vermouth lend soft sweetness to the crystal clear cocktail. Hints of juniper and citrus fruit give this drink a refreshing finish.
Bocado, 887 Howell Mill Road NW, Atlanta. 404-815-1399, bocadoatlanta.com.
Seal the Deal
A drink which showcases the beauty of Japanese cocktail-making and draws flavor inspiration from the season. Eight Sushi’s Seal the Deal is a perfect example of late spring flavors in the South mixing gin with the subtle sweetness of guava nectar, blueberries and brown sugar. Rhubarb bitters and fresh lemon juice bring the zing with a hint of sweet spice from shiso leaf (Asian herb) at the finish.
Eight Sushi Lounge, 930 Howell Mill Road NW, Atlanta. 404-796-8888, eightsushiatl.com.
We love a cocktail that likes to have fun. And, that’s exactly what you get with Grain’s Duchamp Readymade. The mojito riff consists of white rum, lemon juice, mint and notes of anise from fennel syrup. Beverage director Jonathan Turner then tops the drink with an edible garnish. Housemade pearls of Aperol “caviar” for a literal burst of bittersweet flavor.
Grain, 856 West Peachtree St. NW, Atlanta. 404-881-5377, grain-bar.com.
Bon Ton Hurricane
Midtown’s Bon Ton takes its culinary cues from New Orleans. The beverage program is no exception, listing a house version of the French Quarter classic Hurricane. A slightly less sweet riff on the Pat O’Brien’s original, Bon Ton’s signature Hurricane mixes Jamaican and Agricole rums together with citrus juices, orange bitters and bar manager’s Tyler Blackgrave’s housemade BonTon syrup. The cocktail is shaken and poured over a mountain of ice and topped with the true spirit of the Crescent City, absinthe.
Bon Ton, 674 Myrtle St. NE, Atlanta. 404-996-6177, bontonatl.com.
Latte e Miele
Bellina’s newly-minted beverage manager Cole Younger Just debuted with a menu of ten classically-based cocktails for the Italian cafe at Ponce City Market. We’re smitten with his delightful play on the Prohibition-era Bee’s Knees. Just mixes milk-washed gin, raw honey and lemon together with hints of lavender to create a soft, floral-forward cocktail perfect for springtime sipping.
Bellina Alimentari, Ponce City Market, 675 Ponce De Leon Ave. NE #131, Atlanta. 404-330-9933, bellina-alimentari.com.
There may be nothing better on a warm day in Atlanta than relaxing outside on a patio with a classic daiquiri (rum, lime juice, sugar.) Maybe that’s why we find this simple, three-ingredient cocktail so enticing while lounging in the tropical vibe at 8 Arm’s outdoor bar on Ponce. We could sit there for hours...and we have, y’all.
8 Arm, 710 Ponce De Leon Ave. NE, Atlanta. 470-875-5856, 8armatl.com.