You know how when cartoon characters are lost in the desert and little oases of water and palm trees start popping up in thought bubbles over their heads? It’s about 100 degrees while I’m writing this and that’s basically me right now, except I’m imagining these drinks instead while crawling across the vast expanse of the workday waiting for cocktail o’clock. I asked a few bars to torture me with visions of refreshment.“Nothing says summer like fresh, ripe watermelon,” says Michael Florence, bartender at Pigalle, of his Watermelon Sugar cocktail made with muddled, souf vide watermelon and fresh mint, Tozai Ginjo sake, Dolin Blanc vermouth, Velvet Falernum, Death’s Door vodka and Peychaud’s bitters. “Like the crocus to spring, watermelon enlivens the spirit and brings back memories of summer swims or lazy afternoons with friends. It’s an indulgence without guilt.”
Sabrina Kershaw at Noir also has fresh fruit in mind for their simpler, but no less thirst-quenching Quick- sand, made with Milagro Silver tequila, Lillet Blonde and strawberry puree.
If you’re lucky enough to be on Nantucket, you’re already ahead of the game when it comes to chilling out, but take it one step further by ordering the Grapefruit Basil cocktail at American Seasons. “Too many summer drinks can be overly sugary, says co-owner Orla Murphy-LaScola. With this drink she aimed for “light and refreshing without being too sweet.” Imagine the tart lemonade you loved as a kid, “but mixed into a dry, sharp cocktail. Fresh basil picked right before dinner service adds the final summery zip.”