Even if you can't get away as often as you'd like, you can still enjoy a taste of the tropics with these beach inspired cocktails.
Say goodbye to the heavier ales and cream drinks and lighten up with seasonal fresh fruits, crushed ice, and flavor infused liquors.
Below is a list of a few of our favorites that you can find at area bars:
While vodka still maintains the top spot as far as creating delicious cocktails, this season there are even more varieties to choose from as grape, blueberry and pomegranate flavored vodkas enjoy a day in the sun.
At the Madison Bar & Grill, 1316 Washington St. in Hoboken, their expert mixologists have created a tempting array of new Martinis that are infused with the seasonal fruits and herbs.
Typically, most bars only offer a limited selection of fruit juice, including pineapple, grapefruit, cranberry and OJ, yet the Madison also has grape juice, which they have included in their latest Martini.
The "Caddy Shack" Martini is a grape sensation that is made with Skyy grape vodka, grape juice, and a splash of gingerale.
"X-on-the-Hudson" is another Martini, which is a fruit lover's dream. It is made with X-Rated vodka infused liquor that blends passion fruit and blood orange. The Martini is a light pink color and is mixed with Cuervo and a splash of grapefruit juice.
According to Bar Manager Cory Checket, Martinis are a main draw during the summer, in particular on their popular half-priced Martini Tuesdays.
"One of our more popular drinks is the Honey Mojito Martini," said Checket, who added that people like the Martinis because they taste good and they are strong.
In addition to their extensive Martini menu, they also make their own fruit infused liquor like the pineapple vodka infusion and the mango/strawberry infused tequila.
"When we first made them, they were designed for Martinis, but now they are drunk as shots," said Checket.
Also popular are their fresh fruit Mojitos including raspberry, strawberry, mango, orange, and watermelon varieties.
Happy hour is Monday to Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. and includes half-priced beer, wine, sangria, and well-drinks. Tuesday night is half-priced Martinis all night and Thursday night is happy hour all night long.
3 Forty Grill, 340 Sinatra Drive, located on the beautiful Hoboken waterfront offers guests the latest in cocktail lure: fresh fruit purees.
For the summer, Bar Manager Joe Calafiore has helped create a new drink menu that offers variations on the classics, such as new flavored Margaritas and Mojitos, which are always popular during the summer months.
"The new drinks are about fresh fruits and purees," said Calafiore.
This season's Margaritas have an exotic bent with mango, blueberry, banana, pear, and Hawaiian varieties. The "Hawaiian" is a blend of Petron, Amaretto, and pear puree.
"It's not as sweet as you might think because of the Amaretto," says Calafiore, "which makes it easier to drink than those real sugary drinks."
Also getting an update is the Mojito, which normally blends rum, mint, and muddled limes. 3 Forty Grill is offering the original, raspberry, the 3 Forty, apple, orange, pomegranate and others.
"We like to keep everything up to date," said Calafiore. "A lot of our employees travel, so we've picked up different ideas from different places in the world. And we want to be ahead of the curve."
Happy Hour is Monday to Friday from 4 to 7 p.m. and includes half-priced Margaritas, Mojitos, and Martinis. On Thursdays, Martinis are half-priced all night.
Cold and refreshing
Oddfellows Rest located at 80 River St. is a Hoboken mainstay. The restaurant and bar is known for their Cajun food and drinks including the popular rum punch the Hurricane. Guests can relax in the sidewalk café or in the spacious outdoor courtyard (which becomes a late-night smoking lounge after 11 p.m.).
Their latest drink, "The Grape Bazooka," tastes just like the chewing gum and is made with Skyy Grape vodka, raspberry liquor, blue curaco, and is topped with soda and 7-Up. The purple drink is served over ice in one of their signature Hurricane glasses.
Another new drink is a variation on summer lemonade. The "Fun in the Sun" drink is a frothy pink sensation mixed with Bacardi Raspberry rum, fresh squeezed lemonade and fruit punch.
General Manager Missy Dimonde says that the specialty drinks are popular in the summer because "they quench your thirst on a hot summer day and make people think that they are away even if they can't get out of Hoboken."
Dimonde says that their Sangria (white or red) by the glass and of course, the Hurricane, are two drinks that are always popular.
For the summer, they also serve frozen Margaritas, mango or banana daiquiris and pina coladas.
Oddfellows offers happy hour specials Monday to Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. and includes select pints for $2.50 and $5 Hurricanes. On Wednesdays, Hurricanes are $5 all night and on Thursdays, Martinis are $5 all night.
City Bistro, 56 14th Street, in uptown Hoboken is the hip-yet-casual nightspot that is perhaps best known in the summer for its fabulous rooftop bar.
Whether you are looking to unwind after work or enjoy a meal with friends, the Bistro has plenty of summer favorites to munch on like the "Tailgater" - mini burgers, hot dogs and fries, steamed mussels, fried calamari and more. All of which can be washed down with one of their light, fruity drinks.
The Bistro offers several variations on classics, such as the Watermelon, Blueberry or Sangria Martinis.
One of the unique drinks they offer is the "Orange Gina," that is a mix of gin, OJ and soda, which tastes just like the soda that inspired it.
Also new is "Grape Sex," which is a special creation by bartender Katie. This grape inspired cocktail is one of the best new drinks around - it's light, refreshing and not too sweet. She muddles four lemons and mixes in Skyy Grape and pomegranate juice, poured over ice. Delish!
Happy Hour is Sunday to Friday from 4 to 8 p.m. In addition, there are specials throughout the week including half-priced Margaritas and Mojitos on Tuesdays, half-priced Sangria on Wednesdays, half-priced wine by the glass on Thursdays, and more.
Upscale Lua, 1300 Sinatra Drive, overlooking the Manhattan skyline offers bar guests a tasting plates to go along with their cocktail creations. Locals can dine on spicy empanadas while sipping on cocktails.
This elegant eatery offers variations on classic drinks such as flavored Mojitos or Margaritas.
This season's Margaritas go tropical with mango, passion, strawberry, and pomegranate varieties.
One of their newest drinks is the "Summer Lemonade," which is a blend of Stoli Blueberry, fresh lemonade, and a splash of cranberry juice. It is a light, not too sweet adult version of classic lemonade that has just a hint of berries.
Another unique creation is the "Spring Love," which blends Thai basil, mint, pineapple, limes and tequila. This defies explanation - you'll have to taste it for yourself.
Happy Hour is Monday to Friday from 5 to 8 p.m. and is half-off everything. Wednesdays are half-priced Martinis, and Thursday is happy hour all night. There are other specials throughout the week.
The Brass Rail, 135 Washington St., in downtown Hoboken offers fine dining upstairs, plus finger food in the bar area.
In addition to their fine cuisine, they offer variations on classic cocktails, such as the "Just Fashion," which is an updated "Old Fashion cocktail." It is a heady blend of bourbon, Cointreau, and fruit that packs a punch.
Another adult version of a popular beverage is the "19th Hole," which is as close to iced tea as you can get. It is a blend of bourbon, iced tea, brown sugar, and fresh lemon juice.
Happy hour is Monday to Friday from 4:30 to 6:30 p.m. and the selection varies.
MAKE YOUR OWN
While many of the above cocktails are complicated, you can still make drinks for a house party that are inspired, not tired.
When making a Margarita, the first thing you need to do is throw out the Margarita mix that you picked up at the liquor store. Next, toss out the Rose's lime juice (that you've had for too long anyway if it has turned dark).
The next step is getting the proper ingredients, which always includes fresh limes as it will take your drink from okay to delicious. You will need a decent tequila (name brand only please), a bottle of triple sec (if you want to go high end pick up Cointreau), fresh limes and OJ. If you want to try a fruit flavored variety, remember, less is more. And it is best to stick to berries that you can drop in a glass until you get the hang of it. But essentially, the fruit would be muddled in the glass and the liquor is still poured over it.
For one classic Margarita: Pour an ounce and a half of tequila, half an ounce of triple sec, and the juice of two limes over ice. Add a splash of OJ. Shake it. Strain the drink over a fresh glass of ice and add a lime wedge. Enjoy!
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