As the temperatures kick it up a notch, so do Omaha bars. Herb-infused, icy specialties fill the summer drink menus of many area cocktail lounges.
1. GARDEN DISTRICT at J Coco - $8
This sweet and savory summer drink has a little bit of everything in it. Head bartender Noah Mock described it as “a complex Bloody Mary without tomato.” Mock infuses vodka with hot and sweet peppers, then mixes it with Cointreau, lime and celery juice, as well as celery bitters. He finishes the drink with a salted rim.
2. OPERATION ALLIGATOR at The Boiler Room Restaurant - $10
This drink features Batavia arrack, an Indonesian spirit distilled from sugar cane and rice. The arrack is paired with house-made pineapple juice, chamomile syrup and a little bit of absinthe. It’s a sweet treat, perfect for sipping on a hot day.
3. KAMA SUTRA at The I.O., formerly known as the Indian Oven - $9
This drink has more than just a sexy name. It’s a unique play on a summer drink. Its gin base gives it the light yet easily moldable taste perfect for summer drinks. The gin is mixed with cilantro, jalapeńo, sugar and fresh lime juice. Binoy Fernandez, bartender and partner at The I.O., has had the drink on the menu for several years and said it has gotten “really good acclaim” from customers.
4. A WHISTLE IN A GRAVE at House of Loom - $8
This modification of a traditional mint julep has everything you need in a summer drink: mint, citrus and a little bit of honey. The Whistle in a Grave is made with locally grown mint, rye whiskey, Italian limoncello, orange bitters and honey syrup, all served over crushed ice. Ben Rowe, one of the people behind Loom’s drink menu, said the concoction is an outdoor drink that should be sipped when it’s warm outside. As you drink, the crushed ice dilutes the strong beverage. “The first time you drink it, it’s hard to palate,” Rowe said. “A few minutes later, it is a minty, sweet, delicious drink.”
5. DILL COLLINS at The Berry and Rye - $10
Bartenders pressure-infuse vodka with dill, a process that takes about 20 minutes — as opposed to a typical infusion that can take many days. This speciality vodka is then mixed with fresh-squeezed lime juice, house-made simple syrup, muddled celery, green chartreuse and soda water. Berry and Rye General Manager Brock Miller said the drink is so refreshing, you’ll want to put it in a pitcher and drink it all day.
6. THE MOSES QUINBY at The Grey Plume - $11
The Grey Plume’s bar manager, Phil Cacciatore, named this signature drink after a pioneer of beekeeping in the United States. The name is a perfect fit for the drink, made with honey and Mezcal, a liquor that Cacciatore describes as smoky. Cacciatore throws in a little bit of tarragon and cocoa nib, enriching the flavor of this already unique drink.