We did the work so you don’t have to: Finding the best, most chill-inducing cocktails in town, just in time to cure you of the wow-it’s-hot-outside blues. Don’t say you weren’t warned: These mixes can be enjoyed in colder months, too.
The Prickly Pear Martinez at Match Market and Bar
Located inside Found:Re Phoenix
1100 North Central Avenue
Please don’t ask for an explanation, but somehow this cocktail’s combination of gin, maraschino liquor, sweet vermouth, and a garnish of prickly pear screams “Summer!” to us. Especially when we pour two or three cold ones down just before browsing Match’s swell selection of culinary provisions.
The English Garden at Hanny’s
40 North First Street
Is there anything colder than an English garden? In July, this tangy combo of Hendrick’s gin and St. Germain elderflower liqueur, muddled with hunks and slices of cucumber, lets us forget we’re living at what feels like the corner of Sahara and Equator. Two of these and we’re thinking about wearing a parka.
The Strawberry Mint-Mosa at The Counter
7127 East Shea Boulevard, Scottsdale
The rest of the year, we think of this snazzy diner as a great place to grab a burger. Once school is out and the triple-digit thing starts happening, we head here for spiked shakes. You read that right. There’s one called Orange Creamsicle made with orange-flavored vodka, and another that’s essentially root beer and hooch. But what we crave is this groovy mix of mint muddled with strawberries and run through a blender. Does it count as an adult beverage if it tastes like something Grandma used to make?
The Split Personality at Little Rituals
132 South Central Avenue
For drinkers of a certain age, rosé gets a bad name, maybe because it’s still recovering from its 1970s association with the wine spritzer. But the barkeeps at Little Rituals are doing what they can to reclaim the identity of dry pink wines with this combination of Domaine Tariquet Blanche, a French rosé, Armagnac brandy, and — among other things — a splash of tart lemon acid, causing us to curtsy in their direction and immediately order another.
The Thruxton at Sidecar Social Club
3243 North Third Street
You can close your eyes and imagine you’re lying still on balmy-breezed sands somewhere tropical, or you can head to midtown Phoenix for this peachy, beachy drink. Pineapple-infused vodka, lemon juice, and sparkling Moscato are neatly sweetened with simple syrup and, well, we can feel our shoulders burning a little, who hid the Bain de Soleil?
The Frosé at 1227 Taproom
1227 East Northern Avenue
1227 Taproom Facebook
You can get a lot of things at a strip mall in midtown Phoenix, and at the one where this recently rebranded bar resides, you can get that most important summertime thing of all: a frosé. Why isn’t all rosé served blended and frozen, is what we want to know.
Pale Ale on the Rocks at Four Peaks Brewery
1340 East Eighth Street, Tempe
There are probably a lot of reasons to return to this venerable brewpub, but we go back again and again because they never laugh at us when we order a Peach Ale on the rocks. In fact, the last time we were there, our server brought us an extra glass of ice to keep our ale cold. No, really.
The Mojito at Ernie’s Inn Sports Bar
10443 North Scottsdale Road, Scottsdale
In the summertime, we want to watch people running around chasing after balls, so that we don’t have to. It’s too hot out to exercise — but not to saddle a stool at Ernie’s bar and watch the game on one of their giant TVs, or to glug three or four of their traditional Cuban highballs. Rum, sugar, lime, and spearmint, plus a little Diamondbacks — is there anything better?
Hibiki malt whiskey on the rocks at Giligin’s Bar
4251 North Winfield Scott Plaza, Scottsdale
If we’re happy to drive to north Scottsdale for a shot of Japanese whiskey, it’s not just because this kitschy hideaway is so fun to visit. It’s because, frankly, pretty much nobody else in the Valley stocks Hibiki. It’s one of 320 different whiskeys from five different countries that this beach-themed summer place keeps on hand, along with the usual ales and gins and what-have-yous.
The Mafioso at Century Grand’s Platform 18
3626 East Indian School Road
We’re supposed to be documenting summertime drinks here, but please know that it is our intention to imbibe this concoction of strawberry-infused belvedere rye, heirloom crème de flora, strawberry, coriander-hop tincture, lemon juice, and grapefruit soda year-round. Just try to stop us. See you next summer (except you’ll be really blurry).