We don’t need a calendar to tell us that summer is here — the sun is high and the Omaha weather is hotter than ever! After taking advantage of the long summer days by playing a round of golf, taking a dip in the pool, and spending time around town with our kids, it can be nice to find a cozy, dark lounge or outdoor patio to sit back and enjoy a refreshing, summertime cocktail.
Sure, old fashioneds are fan favorites year round, but sometimes this heat calls for something light, refreshing and fruity. Thankfully, our Omaha bars are on top of it, and have released a delightful gauntlet of innovative, seasonal sippers for our enjoyment. We’ve rounded up our eight favorites here — from margaritas to martinis — to give you plenty of ideas for your next happy hour. Have fun!
The Horn and Hammer | Berry and Rye
Ingredients: Luxardo Cherries, Rittenhouse Rye, Broadbent Madeira, Barspoon House Hops, Tincture, sugar, Angostura Bitters
Photos courtesy of the Berry and Rye
The Berry and Rye finds its inspiration in pre-prohibition era drinks, but manages to inspire its customers with modern touches and contemporary flavors. The Horn and Hammer is one such creation, made with rye whiskey, cherries, hops, a touch of sugar and a hint of Angostura bitters — but the process is a bit more complicated than that, involving a pint glass lit on fire to caramalize the sugar and soften the cherries. If you’re able to find a spot at the bar to watch, you will be in for a treat.
The Garden Party | Krug Park
Ingredients: Basil vodka, St. Germain, Cointreau, lemon juice, Absinthe
Photos courtesy of Krug Park
Krug Park is one of Omaha’s most treasured gems, having earned the title of one of Draft Magazine’s 100 bars in America three years in a row! Once you step inside to the old-timey, cozy venue, you’ll see exactly why. The bar oozes “coolness” from every corner, and boasts friendly, creative mixologists slinging some of the best cocktails in the city. Seasonal specials rotate often, but make it a point this summer to try the garden party — a refreshing take on the Corpse Reviver with basil-infused vodka, St. Germain, Cointreau, lemon juice and a splash of Absinthe.
The Watermelon Weekender | Magnolia
Ingredients: Vodka, watermelon, lemonade concentrate
Photo courtesy of Magnolia Hotels
What’s more summery than a watermelon? How about a chillingly fresh, watermelon cocktail served up in a mason jar? The Watermelon Weekender from Magnolia Hotels earned the title of one of the best frozen drinks in the US from the Food Network last year, and we’re not the least bit surprised. The concoction of cubed, seedless watermelon, lemonade and local vodka is about as refreshing as it gets.
The Clover Club | Trio
Ingredients: Broker’s Gin, raspberry syrup, lemon juice, egg white
Photos courtesy of Trio
One of the great things about Trio is that they take your favorite cocktails and add a personal flair. Take the Clover Club for instance — you might have seen this before, but we guarantee it’s never been quite like this. “The key to a great Clover Club is great raspberries, so summer is the best time for this drink,” says general manager and sommelier Matthew Brown. “We make out syrup in a fresh and vibrant style, adding the appropriate complexity to the cocktail. Egg white acts as an emulsifier and gives this drink a lovely, silky texture.” Sounds good to us!
The Iron Overlord | Nite Owl
Ingredients: Rum, pineapple, smoked tea
Photos courtesy of the Nite Owl
The Iron Overlord might look like an innocent iced tea, but don’t be fooled — this summer cocktail packs a serious punch. The sipper is a big tiki monster with overproof rum, pineapple and smoked tea, and goes perfectly with anything on Nite Owl’s eclectic menu. We choose to sip this one on the covered patio!
Frosé | Herbe Sainte
Ingredients: Latue Tempranillo Rosé, Briottete Créme de Mure, lemon juice
Photos courtesy of Herbe Sainte
While rosé has always been a fan favorite, the pink wine experienced a popularity spike in 2016 and is continuing to ride that wave through this summer. We’ve particularly enjoyed variations of the drink (think: rosé popsicles, slushies and more), and Herbe Sainte’s is the best we’ve found in town.
The bartenders mix up different combinations of rosé fortified with different liqueurs and citrus, and then freeze it into a heavenly slushie cocktail that is perfect for patio sipping. “We’ve definitely been having a lot of fun with our frosé,” says Herbe Sainte’s proprietor, Aaron Halbert. Order yours from the bar and accompany it with a selection of oysters or an original, New Orleans-inspired appetizer.
The Shark Attack | Mercury
Ingredients: Rum, lime, pineapple, coconut, and pomegranate
Photos courtesy of Mercury
We don’t get many sharks in Omaha waters, but this is one shark we will welcome with open arms. Mercury is known for its swanky atmosphere, friendly staff, innovative bites and quirky cocktails, but the Shark Attack is perhaps the most entertaining one yet — and just in time for the shark thrillers we are sure to be watching this summer. This shark attack certainly has bite, but not in the way you might expect. Expect a fruity cocktail filled with various rums, lime, pineapple, coconut and pomegranate, and don’t forget to Instagram the moment!
The Pink Pearl | LIV Lounge
Ingredients: Raspberry and pomegranate vodka, ginger ale, sake, muddled raspberries
Photos courtesy of LIV Lounge
LIV Lounge has mastered the light summer drink in the creation of the Pink Pearl, which is its most popular cocktail during the warmer months. The fruity bevvie is made with low calorie raspberry and pomegranate vodka, diet ginger ale, sake and muddled raspberries, and served over ice. We choose to sip this one on the patio for maximum summer vibes.
What cocktail are you most excited to try? Let us know in the comments!