The ingredients of the steamy season should reflect the weather (and what is seasonably available), so expect freshsqueezed juices, fresh herbs and lighter, brighter drinks.
Since Oklahoma heat drives us to patios and pools where we might be wearing far less clothing, calorie-counting is more important in summer for weight-conscious drinkers.
At West, 6714 N. Western, bar manager Andy Dixon features a “skinny” bar menu all summer, in addition to the regular offerings.
Dixon uses juices and agave nectar to create “healthier,” lower-cal cocktails like the Club Special. It includes fresh-squeezed lemon and lime juice, agave nectar and soda in a delicious, citrusy summertime drink with only 85 calories.
If you’ve walked along the south side of Stella, 1201 N. Walker, you might have noticed owner Lori Tyler’s herb garden alongside the restaurant.
The herbs are used in the kitchen and bar. The cocktail list includes drinks with fresh-squeezed juice, sage, lavender, beet juice and other ingredients.
Hence, the Sage Limetta is a refreshing blend of Jose Cuervo 1800 tequila, sage, fresh-squeezed lime juice and soda. It’s a zippy blend of herbal, citrus and agave flavors.
On weekends, Kitchen No. 324, 324 N. Robinson, features a rosé Mojito, but the cocktail is available all week. Because everything is better with wine, the restaurant combines mint, simple syrup and fresh-squeezed lime juice with Charles Bieler’s delicious Liquid Geography rosé to create a light, tangy-sweet wine cocktail.
One of the more complex, layered cocktails for summer is The Premier at Red PrimeSteak, 504 N. Broadway.
Back by popular demand, blanco tequila is blended with Amaro Averna, a botanically rich liqueur comprised of citrus rinds, herbs and roots mixed with caramel. The spirits are blended with fresh strawberry puree to create a wonderfully layered collection of flavors.
The Lobby Bar, 4322 N. Western, changes its menu seasonally, knows how to make classic cocktails and does an excellent job keeping ahead of trends.
For the summer, Lobby has a good list that mixes the classic and the carefree, starting with the White Nectarine Whiskey Smash. Fresh white nectarines are muddled and then mixed with mint, your choice of whiskey and simple syrup to create a sweet, indulgent cocktail.
If you are in the mood for a second cocktail at Lobby, try the Tequila Fields, a blend of your preferred tequila, lavender simple syrup and creme de violette. The floral components give this cocktail a fresh, aromatic quality that appeals both to taste and to smell.