Written for MyCentralJersey.com on 6/15/16
With temperatures climbing into the 90s, there’s only one thing to do to cool off after the sun goes down (or while it’s still in the sky) – enjoy a refreshing summer cocktail from one of Central Jersey’s many bars and restaurants.
Local bartenders and restaurateurs are already planning for a season of breezy, fruity and crisp cocktails with bar menus that reflect the need to relax after a long, hot day in New Jersey’s humid weather.
To find out where you can head this summer for a specialty cocktail that offers just as much as the sunny season does, check out the seasonal drinks offered at the bars and restaurants below.
Los Cuernos del Diablo at La Terrazza Cubana
Translated to “the devil’s horns,” La Terrazza Cubana’s $11 summery cocktail includes Bacardi 8 rum, fresh squeezed lime juice, agave nectar, red chili, raspberries and a splash of cranberry juice.
“This drink is sweet with just the right amount of heat, just like the summer,” said Jessica Lopez, manager of the new restaurant.
Grab a taste of this devilish drink by heading to the Cuban establishment at 273 High St. in Perth Amboy or contact them at terrazzanj.com or 732-442-8100.
Caribbean Cosmo at Water and Wine Ristorante
Water and Wine Ristorante on Lake Watchung may be ways away from the beach, but one of their summer drink specials is helping the Italian restaurant’s lengthy list of regulars get a taste of the Caribbean.
The $12 Caribbean Cosmo includes Malibu rum, banana liqueur, pineapple juice and cranberry juice. “This cosmo is meant to bring you to the beach while you’re overlooking the lake,” said Michael Politz, bartender.
Grab the summery special at 141 Stirling Road in Watchung or learn more by visiting visitwaterandwine.com or calling 908-755-9344.
Cuban Brunch from the Bernards Inn
A combination of Cana Brava rum, honeydew puree, ginger simple syrup, lime juice and mint leaves, the Cuban Brunch is one of the Bernards Inn’s current specialty summer favorites.
“The Cuban Brunch is so light and refreshing and it cools you down quickly on a hot summer day,” said Emily Albrizio, mixologist at the Inn.
Get the cocktail for $15 at 27 Mine Brook Road in Bernardsville or find out more by calling 908-766-0002 or visiting bernardsinn.com.
Strawberry Fields Julep at Catherine Lombardi Restaurant
With strawberries in season in New Jersey, Catherine Lombardi Restaurant has been making use out of the summery fruit, including in their Strawberry Fields Julep.
The julep variation includes fresh hand-picked strawberries from Indyk Farms in Monroe, thyme, Perry’s Tot Navy Strength gin and St. Germain elderflower liqueur.
Pick one up for $13 at 3 Livingston Ave. in New Brunswick or get more information by visiting catherinelombardi.com or by calling 732-296-9463.
Somerville Sour at Tapastre
Tapastre’s Somerville Sour, which is Bulleit Rye whiskey paired with refreshing notes of lemon and grapefruit, is currently housed at Somerville’s favorite craft beer bar and small plate restaurant.
“A float of pinot noir and a single orange rind for garnish makes this drink the ultimate summer cocktail,” said Joe Alpizar, bar manager.
Get the $10 cocktail at 1 W. High St. in Somerville or find out more information by visiting tapastre.com or by calling 908-526-0505.
Mango Margarita at Just Restaurant
Just Restaurant, which was voted as a Diners’ Choice winner for 2016 by OpenTable, is highlighting their Mango Margarita for the summertime, which includes Patron silver, triple sec, and a splash of lime and orange juice that is then garnished with fresh mango and a salt rim.
The upscale American restaurant, known as one of the best in Middlesex County, is also offering several other summer signature cocktails among the $10 Mango Margarita.
Grab one by visiting Just Restaurant at 2280 Route 9 South in Old Bridge or find out more by going to justrestaurantnj.com or by calling 732-707-4800.
Mezcal Me, Anytime at The Frog and the Peach
The Frog and the Peach, a staple of the New Brunswick restaurant scene, is currently featuring their Mezcal Me, Anytime, which includes elderflower syrup, muddled cucumber, lemon juice, St. Germaine liqueur and Fidencio Clásico Mezcal.
The $12 drink is one of the 11 specialty cocktails being served for the season.
Find it at the gourmet American establishment located at 29 Dennis St. in New Brunswick or call 732-846-3216 or visit frogandpeach.com for more information.
Sangria de Guayaba at Barca City Cafe and Bar
Barca City Cafe and Bar is currently featuring its $8 Sangria de Guayaba, one of the tapas restaurant’s 22 cocktails.
“This sangria is refreshing, yet strong and delicious, and perfect for a hot summer day,” said Gus Sleiman, owner of Barca City Cafe and Bar.
The red-or-white cocktail, which is made to order, includes muddled fruits, real McCoy Silver Run, the restaurant’s secret ingredient and guayaba purée.
Find it at the Barcelona-inspired eatery located at 47 Easton Ave. in New Brunswick, and get more information on Barca City Cafe and Bar by visiting barcacity.com or calling 732-640-1155.
Red Ruby Cooler at Uncle Vinnie’s Clam Bar
Much more approachable than a straight martini, the Red Ruby Cooler at Uncle Vinnie’s Clam Bar is the restaurant’s most popular drink special of the year – and it’s the featured cocktail for the month of June.
For $9, customers can get a taste of the tart grapefruit flavors and the sparkling club soda.
Get the summery drink, which many enjoy in January as well as June, at 5 E. Somerset St. in Raritan or visit unclevinniesclambar.com or call 908-526-9887 for more information.
Cherry Bomb at Ryland Inn
When the Ryland Inn’s summer signature cocktail list comes out on June 21, it will be spearheaded by head bartender James Cleaver’s $15 Cherry Bomb, which includes fresh lime juice and gin that complete the base of the drink that is then topped with a spoonful of luxardo cherry syrup, adding a velvety sweetness. It is then garnished with a lime wheel and one of the luxardo cherries.
“This is my own bright, tart and refreshing twist on a summer favorite, the cherry lime gin ricky,” said Cleaver. “It’s a great option for a warm summer day on the Ryland’s beautiful patio.”
Grab a Cherry Bomb at the fine dining establishment located at 111 Old Hwy 28 in Whitehouse Station or get further information by visiting rylandinnnj.com or by calling 908-534-4011.
Astro Pop Martini at Hailey’s Harp and Pub
Hailey’s Harp and Pub, a favorite Irish hangout for those who are on Irish and those who are only Irish on St. Patrick’s Day, is currently spotlighting their summer favorite, the $8 Astro Pop Martini, to kick off the summer.
Made with cherry vodka and sour mix and layered with blue curaçao and grenadine, bartender Ashley Shay said that the Astro Pop Martini tastes just like the real thing.
Pick one up without waiting around for the ice cream truck by visiting Hailey’s Harp and Pub at 400 Main St. in Metuchen or by heading to haileysharpandpub.com or calling 732-321-0777 for more information.
AND ONE ‘MOCKTAIL’ FOR OUR YOUNGER READERS:
Homemade Peach Lemonade at Fiddleheads Restaurant
Made daily at Fiddleheads Restaurant, the homemade lemonade at the BYOB is concocted with fresh lemon pulp, fresh fruit and a little sugar.
The lemonades, with variations such as strawberry, kiwi, mango, raspberry, blueberry, watermelon, wild cherry and pineapple, are available at lunch, dinner and Sunday brunch.
Pick up the $3.25 lemonade of the day at 27 E Railroad Ave. Jamesburg or get more information by visiting fiddleheadsjamesburg.com or by calling 732-521-0878.