When the temperature climbs higher, the drinks get colder, but it takes more than ice to make the perfect hot-weather libation. A memorable beverage is a complementary mix of refreshing ingredients. These 17 spots have you covered.
The essential summer drink, lemonade, is renowned for taking the heat off. It originated in Egypt in the 13th and 14th centuries but wasn’t fashionable until Parisian street vendors served it from carts. However, leave it to the Italians to create the grown-up version, limoncello, a chilled lemon liqueur popular on the Amalfi Coast.
In Talleyville, Corner Bistro combines limoncello, prosecco and club soda for the Limoncello Spritz, served over ice with mint.
3604 Silverside Road, Wilmington; 477-1778; mybistro.com
At nearby V&M Bistro, the Limoncello Martini is a star cocktail. Bartenders pour the liqueur and vodka over lemon water ice instead of cubes.
1717 Marsh Road, Wilmington; 479-7999; vmbistro.com
Spill the tea
Like lemonade, tea is a beverage of choice in summer, and savvy bartenders have added a fun spin to the standard. For instance, Del Pez Mexican Gastro Pub on the Wilmington Riverfront features Tea Thyme, a mix of Tito’s Handmade Vodka, chamomile tea simple syrup and Gosling’s Stormy Ginger Beer. The cocktail is garnished with thyme and candied ginger for a drink with a bite.
400 Justison St., Wilmington; 691-7974: delpezmexicanpub.com
Pro golfer Arnold Palmer often ordered iced tea mixed with lemonade, which became popular among ladies who lunch. Drip Café in Hockessin, however, has added Tito’s Handmade Vodka to freshly brewed iced tea and lemonade for a version with a potent swing.
144 Lantana Drive, Hockessin; 234-4430; dripcafede.com
Palmer’s namesake gets around. At The Starboard in Dewey Beach, the Arnold Palmer Crush contains Deep Eddy Sweet Tea Vodka and Starry lemon-lime soda. Fresh-squeezed lemon juice is the finishing touch.
2009 Coastal Highway, Dewey Beach; 227-4600; thestarboard.com
In Rehoboth Beach, the newly opened Crushers, which specializes in crabs, offers the Crusher’s Crush, which contains Old Bay Vodka, limoncello, Sprite and fresh lemon juice.
251 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach; 212-2245; crushersbar.com
Playing nice with ice
For a time, hot chocolate and bath bombs were all the rage. Patty Cullen, the beverage manager at Victoria’s in the Boardwalk Hotel, makes ice “bombs” with fruit and vodka. At the table, servers pour prosecco over the bomb for an effervescent experience.
2 Olive Ave., Rehoboth Beach; 227-0615; boardwalkplaza.com/dining
Leave it to tropical flavors to take the heat off, and the Lime in the Coconut at Bluecoast Seafood Grill & Raw Bar in Rehoboth is a prime example. The cocktail contains coconut rum, Key lime juice, cream of coconut and pineapple juice.
30115 Veterans Way, Rehoboth Beach; 278-7395; bluecoastrehoboth.com
Zogg’s Raw Bar & Grill has no shortage of classic tropical cocktails, including the Caipirinha, Mai Tai and Dark & Stormy. But co-owner Chris Jacona says the top seller is Jamaican Rum Punch, made with pineapple and banana rum, as well as Calico Jack Coconut Rum. Keep your Uber app handy.
1 Wilmington Ave., Rehoboth Beach; 227-7660; zoggsbar.com
Originating in Spain and Portugal, sangria is essentially a punch made with red wine, fruit and often other spirits, such as brandy. (Technically, only the two Iberian nations have the right to use the name sangria.) Ole Tapas in Newark features red sangria and a flavor of the day.
1126 Capitol Trail, Newark; 224-9378; oletapaslounge.com
While you’d expect to find sangria at Ole, which specializes in Spanish cuisine, you might be surprised to learn that Mrs. Robino’s in Wilmington’s Little Italy is known for house-made sangria made with white or red wine.
520 N. Union St., Wilmington; 652-9223; mrsrobinos.com
Meanwhile, the Rail’s version is made with red wine, caramel vodka, apple cider and sparkling water—a true sip of creative license.
879 Delaware Park Blvd., Newark; 994-6700; whiteclaycreek.com
Delaware’s distillers and craft brewers typically embrace the season with specialty creations. Take, for example, Painted Stave’s bottled Hot Girl Summer, made with Painted Stave Vodka, Aperol, pineapple, passion fruit and lime.
106 W. Commerce St., Smyrna; 653-6834; paintedstave.com
Aston, Pennsylvania-based 2SP, part of the Two Stones Pub family, has two beers that are light and thirst-quenching. Strawberry Switchblade is a hefeweizen fermented at high temps to bring out banana flavors. Strawberries lend a sweet touch. Voluptuous Fuzz American Wheat Ale boasts big helpings of peach and apricot. A touch of herby sheep sorrel gives the beer a lemon kiss at the end. The beers, which are under 5% ABV, are available at area retailers.
120 Concord Road, Units 101–103, Aston, Pennsylvania; 2spbrewing.com
Milton-based Dogfish Head Craft Brewery is proud of its top-selling SeaQuench Ale, and understandably so. It’s brewed with black limes, sour lime juice and sea salt—three ingredients that scream summer. dogfish.com/brewery
This summer, Crooked Hammock Brewery debuted Hammock of Light. With a 4.2% ABV, the lager is designed for extended porch swing sessions, daylong beach picnics and backyard barbecues that last into the August night.
316 Auto Park Drive, Middletown, 601-7837, and 36707 Crooked Hammock Way, Lewes, 644-7837; crookedhammockbrewery.com